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Army Skydiver Overcomes Accident

Dana Bowman and Jose Aguillon, members of the Golden Knights, the U.S. Army's top parachute team, were practicing a maneuver called the "diamond track" during a training mission over Yuma, Arizona. They had performed this maneuver over 50 times before.

Flying at each other at up to 150 miles per hour, the soldiers were to pass each other at a height of 3,500 to 4,500 feet, missing one another by about 20 feet. But something went wrong this time, and they were heading for a collision. Sergeant Aguillon saw it coming and stuck out his right arm to veer away. Still he hit Sergeant Bowman's legs, severing both limbs, one above the knee, the other below the knee. Sgt. Bowman floated to the ground, unconscious.

When he woke up, he learned that Sgt. Aguillon had died from the incident. Soon after, Bowman's wife left him. Then the Army discharged him.

When asked how he recovered, he now says:

The doctors were telling me I'd never be the same. Instead of giving me options, they were depressing me. I just wanted to put my fingers in my ears and not listen. It was crazy. I don't like downbeat people. I like upbeat people. I'm a Christian, and I have a lot of faith. I decided, I'm going to show them my spirit.

Six months after the tragedy, Sgt. Bowman parachuted again out of a plane. Nine months later, he was back in the Army. And he celebrated his re-enlistment by jumping again with the Golden Knights!

Now retired from military service, Dana skis both on water and snow, scuba dives, flies planes and helicopters, and races motorcycles. He has made more than 500 parachute jumps since his accident and has gained his college degree in commercial aviation. He remarried and is the father of five children. He now encourages people with disabilities through public speaking.

In an interview on The 700 Club, Bowman said:

We have to live by the path that God has given us each and every day. It's hard for me, but I continue on….I want to live a Christian life. God gave me a chance to live. I have to give something back.

Submitted by Ted De Hass, Bedford, Iowa; for more of Sgt. Bowman's story, see www.danabowman.com

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