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Change | Inspiration | Patriotism | Personal Development | Diversity | Motivation
Dana Bowman, Sgt.1st Class, Ret., has astounded the nation and the world with his drive, determination, and will to succeed. He is a retired Sergeant First Class with the U.S. Army where he was a Special Forces Soldier and a member of the U.S. Army's elite parachute team, the Golden Knights. He is a double amputee. He lost his legs in an accident during the annual Golden Knights training in Yuma, Arizona, in 1994.
On February 6,1994, Sgt. Bowman gained worldwide attention when he and his teammate Sgt. Jose Aguillon collided in midair during the team's annual training.
Dana Bowman and Jose Aguillon were practicing a maneuver known as the Diamond Track. The maneuver calls for the jumpers to streak away from each other for about a mile and then turn 180 degrees and fly back toward each other crisscrossing in the sky. They had demonstrated the Diamond Track more than fifty times without a mistake, but this time was different.
Rather than crisscrossing, the two skydivers slammed into each other at a combined speed of 300 miles per hour. Sgt. Aguillon died instantly. Sgt. Bowman's legs were severed from his body, one above the knee and one below the knee. His parachute opened on impact. He was taken to a hospital in Phoenix where doctors closed his leg wounds and stopped his internal bleeding.
Nine months later, Dana Bowman turned this tragedy into a triumph when he became the first double amputee to re-enlist in the United States Army. He re-enlisted in the United States Army airborne style, skydiving with his commander into the ceremony, making his dream a reality. This achievement is just one example of his many successes under adverse circumstances.
After Sgt. Bowman's re-enlistment, he became the U.S. Parachute Team's lead speaker and recruiting commander. He has been fortunate to have the opportunity to let his speeches touch so many from the physically challenged to the able-bodied. He strives to show physically challenged people can still work and excel in today's society and military. He emphasizes the words amputee and uselessness are not synonymous.
Dana Bowman has given more than 400 speeches in the last few years and has been featured in magazines such as Sports Illustrated, Reader's Digest, People, and many more. There have also been numerous television programs that focused on him and his story. Some of the programs include: Dateline, A Current Affair, Real TV, NBC Person of the Week, Day and Date, and Extra.
Sgt. Bowman retired from the United States Army in 1996. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in commercial aviation at the University of North Dakota in May of 2000.
Dana Bowman spends a great deal of his personal time working with other amputees and disabled or physically challenged people. He inspires other amputees to walk again. His future plans are to continue to speak to the public and fly helicopters.