Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Double Amputee Skydives

Updated: Friday, 07 Aug 2009, 7:33 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 07 Aug 2009, 6:35 PM EDT

BETHESDA, Md. - A tragic military skydiving accident took his legs and the life of his friend, but it didn't take Dana Bowman's drive.

The former Golden Knight soldier is still inspiring others from thousands of feet in the air.

With his Purple Heart parachute and American flag in tow, Bowman jumped from a plane, hitting his mark at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on Friday.

Bowman says it was awesome. He lost both his legs in a military skydiving accident back in 1994 that also claimed the life of his skydiving partner. He was brought to Walter Reed for treatment, and has never forgotten those who helped make him whole again.

"They took great care of me, just like their doing for our soldiers here today," Bowman said of the people at Walter Reed.

Every year, Walter Reed helps more than 150,000 active and retired personnel from all branches of the military. Bowman wants his fearless flight to serve as a message of hope.

"The message is for the old, the young, the new, the disabled, the physically challenged -- especially our wounded soldiers-- no matter what happens to you, whether you're civilian world or military, you can still continue on," Bowman said.

Army Private 1st Class Brendan Marrocco, a quadruple amputee, was injured in Iraq on Easter Sunday by a roadside bomb. He's says he was inspired by Bowman's jump.
"It's fantastic," said Marrocco. "I love it. I wanna, he's setting me up so I can do it myself, that would be absolutely amazing to me, to be able to do that."

"You know you can't give up," Bowman said. "We show people, my motto is it's not the disability, it's the ability. We have to give back. We're only given one chance in life. I'll tell ya, we have to do the best of it."

Bowman is now a motivational speaker who has dedicated his life to inspiring wounded soldiers, and all Americans with disabilities.

Bowman is now training for his new adventure, which he says will happen in 18 months when he will skydive from what he calls "the edge of space."

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