Retired Lieutenant General Martin R. Berndt speaks at SMWC

February 1st, 2010 | SMWC

Event Recap

On January 28 and 29, 2010, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College hosted special guests, Lieutenant General Martin R. Berndt (Ret) of the U.S. Marine Corps and his wife, Diana, as well as Mary Pat Kelly, SMWC 1967 alum and author of “Good to Go: The Rescue of Scott O’Grady from Bosnia."  Lt.Gen Berndt spoke Thursday evening to an audience of over 80 on the topic of "Leadership and Education" in the Cecilian Auditorium. 

On Friday, Lt.Gen Berndt, the local Marine Unit Kilo Company, 3rd Bn 24th Marines, SMWC President David G. Behrs, and General Superior Denise Wilkinson, SP, participated in a Wreath-Laying Ceremony in honor of Sr. Catherine Hartman.  Hartman served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Women's Reserve of the USMC during World War II.  She later became a Sister of Providence. 

The event was in support of SMWC's participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program and to announce the Sr. Catherine Hartman Spiritual Companionship Program

Multi-media Resources

Photos from Thursday and Friday's activities may be found on flickr.  Videos of the presentation and memorial service are posted below. 

Leadership and Education
Presented by Retired Lieutenant General Martin Berndt 


Memorial Wreath Laying Ceremony


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Event Information

The following information refers to an event that has already concluded.  It is maintained for reference only.

On January 28 and 29, 2010, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College will host special guests, Retired Lieutenant General Martin R. Berndt of the U.S. Marine Corps and his wife, Diana, as well as Mary Pat Kelly, SMWC 1967 alum and author of “Good to Go: The Rescue of Scott O’Grady from Bosnia."

Leadership and Education, January 28th

During Lt. Gen. Berndt’s visit, the public will have the opportunity to meet him and to hear him speak on the topic of “Leadership and Education” on the SMWC campus. His presentation will be held Thursday, January 28, at 7:00 p.m. in the Cecilian Auditorium in the Conservatory of Music building.  

Lt. Gen. Berndt is visiting to show his support of the Yellow Ribbon Program that Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College participates and offers to all military branches. SMWC’s participation in this program, when combined with the Post 9/11 GI Bill, means that veterans who have served on active duty for at least 36 aggregate months since 9/11/01 and who meet college admission requirements will have the opportunity to attend SMWC tuition-free. 

Berndt is also showing his support for the new Sister Catherine Hartman Spiritual Companionship Program. The Sisters of Providence are partnering with SMWC by offering an optional spiritual companion to any veteran who enrolls in an academic program at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. They will offer on-going visits with a Sister of Providence companion at the time a student may be on campus as well as on-going visits via email or letters.

LtCol Ron Benda of Kilo Company, 3rd Bn 24th Marines, who was once an English teacher at Otter Creek Middle School, said, "After World War II, the original GI Bill provided unprecedented educational opportunities to the 'Greatest Generation.' Today's Post 9/11 GI Bill and forward-thinking partners like Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College are again stepping up and providing similar well-earned and much deserved opportunities for America's newest great generation of veterans."

Honoring Sister Catherine Hartman, January 29th

On Friday, January 29, at 10:00 a.m., the public is invited to a Memorial Wreath Laying Ceremony in the Sisters of Providence Cemetery on the east side of campus. The Wreath Ceremony honors Sister Catherine Hartman, (RIP), who, prior to becoming a Sister of Providence, served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Women's Reserve, United States Marine Corps during World War II.  Members of the I-I staff for Kilo Company, 3/24, will assist in the ceremony.

“Today’s Marines draw inspiration and strength from those who served before us and their ‘Corps Values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment.’ Honoring Sr. Catherine Hartman allows us to pay tribute to one who helped set these high standards.”

- LtCol Ron Benda of Kilo Company.

About Berndt's Military Service

BerndtWebButton.jpgThe general public may recall Lt. Gen. Martin R. Berndt’s name.  In 1995, he received national media coverage for his leadership in the rescue of Captain Scott F. O’Grady. O’Grady’s F-16 was struck by a missile in Bosnia. O’Grady survived the crash, but remained in Bosnian Serb territory until his rescue.

SMWC 1967 alum, Mary Pat Kelly, wrote a non-fiction book about the rescue entitled, “Good to Go: The Rescue of Scott O’Grady from Bosnia.”

Following Berndt’s retirement in 2005 from active military service, he has continued to work directly with the military as well as with organizations that support the armed forces.

Berndt currently is a senior mentor to the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Staff Training Program, holds a similar position with the Joint Forces Command, and is a member of the Onslow County Military Affairs Committee.

During his 36-year military career, Berndt commanded the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Atlantic; U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Europe; U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South; U.S. Marine Corps Bases, Atlantic; U.S. Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic; U.S. Fleet Marine Force, Europe; the 11 Marine Expeditionary Force/Striking Force, Atlantic; the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit; and the U.S. Joint Forces Command Joint War Fighting Center.

Other positions he held include that as a Middle East/Africa planner and U.S. military liaison to the West Africa Peacekeeping Force in Liberia. He also was the assistant chief of staff to Headquarters, U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany.

Lt. Gen. Berndt was commissioned a second lieutenant after his graduation from West Chester University. Following that commission, he attended The Basic School and Vietnamese language school before serving in the Vietnam War.