Retired Army Special Forces Sergeant First Class, Double Amputee and Sought-After Inspirational Speaker
Dana Bowman 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. Dana Bowman 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, Bowman gained worldwide attention when he and his teammate Sgt. Jose Aguillon collided in midair during the team’s annual training. Bowman and 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. Bowman and Aguillon 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. Aguillon died instantly. Bowman’s legs were severed from his body, one above the knee and one below the knee. Bowman’s 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, he turned this tragedy into a triumph when he became the first double amputee to re-enlist in the United States Army. Bowman 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 Bowman’s many successes under adverse circumstances.
After Dana’s re-enlistment, he became the U.S. Parachute Team’s lead speaker and recruiting commander. Dana 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. Dana emphasizes the words amputee and uselessness are not synonymous.
Dana 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 which focused on Dana and his story. Some of the programs include: Dateline, A Current Affair, Real TV, NBC Person of the Week, Day and Date and Extra.
Dana 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 spends a great deal of his personal time working with other amputees and disabled or physically challenged people. “Dana inspires other amputees to walk again. His future plans are to continue to speak to the public and fly helicopters.
It’s not the Disability; It’s the Ability
We all have myriad disabilities. As a living example himself, Dana shows us how to focus on what we can accomplish, and encourages the physically challenged and the able-bodied to achieve their goals—no matter how wonderfully large or seemingly small. As Dana’s highly personal and passionately told story illustrates, abilities are endless. Disabilities are nonexistent.
At some time—at many times—we face adversity. Overcoming adversity seems easy for some, harder for others. Dana, who has persistently, gracefully, and triumphantly overcome adversity after losing his legs, will help each individual audience member overcome their own challenges as well, through discipline and a deep belief in their own power to succeed.
Mastering Change: The only constant
Change is an unavoidable constant. Usually, change comes in small, continuous, and at times insidious adjustments to our reality: new information; a new job; a new client. Sometimes, as it did for Dana Bowman, change arrives all at once, with unspeakable force-—an entire life forever altered. Learn from a man whose body, career, and perspective changed irrevocably in a split second. Become forever inspired by his determination to regain his life and reclaim his abilities. Dana’s story teaches us all to accept change—and accept only greatness!