18 June 2010

Double amputee makes historic jump

Staff Sgt. Shaun Meadows shares a laugh with his son after completing his jump June 14, 2010. Sergeant Meadows is assigned to the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Leah Young.

Special tactics squadron double amputee makes historic jump

by Airman Leah Young
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

6/16/2010 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (AFNS) -- Air Force history was made June 15, when a wounded warrior from the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron became the first active-duty double amputee to successfully participate in a personnel drop.

Staff Sgt. Shaun Meadows, along with 39 of his co-workers, conducted a practice parachute jump from a C-17 Globemaster III, in prreperation for a change of command ceremony.

The combat controller lost both legs during a combat reconnaissance patrol in Afghanistan when his convoy hit an improvised explosive device in July 2008.

"It's a huge accomplishment for Shaun to come back from being injured on a mission and to then go up in the air again," said Master Sgt. Angela Fernandez, the 22nd STS first sergeant. "He's doing what he loves."

The practice exercise is the first jump Sergeant Meadows has participated in since his injury.

"Today is significant because we're all very close to Shaun," said Lt. Col. Bryan Cannady, the 22nd STS commander. "It's very much like a brotherhood. We're all glad to be here for him and support him."

Sergeant Meadows will also be participating in the 22nd STS change of command ceremony, which will be his last jump before he separates from the Air Force.

"Shaun's spirit and desire to do this made us believe we could get it done," said Colonel Cannady. "It's an honor, not just for me, but for every guy out there to be doing this today."

Sergeant Meadows' co-workers said he hasn't allowed his injury to hold him back or keep him from doing his job.

"Shaun is the epitome of positive," said Sergeant Fernandez. "He always walks into work with a smile on his face and makes us laugh."

Sergeant Meadows said he's happy to participate in operations again.

"Everything went well today," Sergeant Meadows said. "It felt good to get up there and jump again after two years."

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