Face of Defense: Amputee to Return to Pilot Training

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — A Laugh­lin offi­cer who lost much of his right leg after a boat­ing acci­dent got word last week that he’ll soon return to pilot train­ing here.

Since his acci­dent near­ly 14 months ago, Air Force 1st Lt. Ryan McGuire has com­plet­ed reha­bil­i­ta­tion using his pros­thet­ics, com­plet­ed the Air Force Marathon and com­pet­ed in the War­rior Games. Since July, he’s been back on duty here, but not in pilot train­ing.

“When I first lost my leg, I nev­er dreamed this day would come,” McGuire said. “But lead­er­ship here has sup­port­ed me every step of the way, and hon­est­ly, they’re the ones who gave me this dream to come back.”

Air Force Col. Michael Frankel, 47th Fly­ing Train­ing Wing com­man­der, said it was a no-brain­er to sup­port McGuire in his efforts.

“When I first met Lieu­tenant McGuire, it was obvi­ous that this young man is some­thing spe­cial,” Frankel said. “He has always had a pos­i­tive atti­tude. I’ve nev­er seen him down, nev­er seen him upset. He’s always been press­ing for­ward, try­ing to achieve his goals. I look for­ward to the day when he grad­u­ates from pilot train­ing and I can hand him a set of sil­ver wings.”

McGuire was injured Sept. 6, 2009, when he was yanked from a boat jet­ting across Lake Amis­tad at 40 mph. He was lift­ed out of the boat by a rope that was tied to an inner tube when the wind caught the tube, pulling him out. His hip was dis­lo­cat­ed, his pelvis was frac­tured, and his right foot was man­gled.

The after­math was a night­mare for many, and a chal­lenge for McGuire. He was tak­en by ambu­lance to Val Verde Region­al Med­ical Cen­ter in Del Rio, Texas, and 10 hours after the acci­dent, he arrived by heli­copter at Brooke Army Med­ical Cen­ter in San Anto­nio.

Ini­tial­ly, doc­tors attempt­ed to repair the foot, but five weeks lat­er, McGuire lost much of his right leg below the knee.

“It was so sur­re­al,” he said. “It prob­a­bly real­ly did­n’t hit home until I woke up after the surgery. I woke up after, and my mom start­ed cry­ing. I pret­ty much knew then it was­n’t just a bad dream.”

But that pain launched him onto the road to recov­ery. As a child, McGuire said, he want­ed to be an Air Force pilot. His dream even­tu­al­ly led him through the Air Force Acad­e­my.

“I nev­er want­ed to give up my dream,” he said. Through months of some­times painful reha­bil­i­ta­tion, he relearned to walk and then to run.

A med­ical board found McGuire fit for duty in August. Two days lat­er, a waiv­er request was sub­mit­ted to allow him to return him to pilot train­ing, and the waiv­er was approved Oct. 29.

A few pilots are serv­ing on active duty with pros­thet­ics, but McGuire is the first stu­dent to be returned to train­ing sta­tus. He said he’s learned a lot through the whole ordeal, but that he espe­cial­ly learned the mean­ing of the words “Air Force fam­i­ly.”

“I went to the Acad­e­my, and it was a great time and we expe­ri­enced a lot of cama­raderie,” he said. “How­ev­er, through­out this, my Air Force fam­i­ly, and my real fam­i­ly, has been by my side through­out. The day of the acci­dent, I had com­man­ders at the hos­pi­tal with me, help­ing take care of my real fam­i­ly, and ever since, they’ve been in my cor­ner help­ing and push­ing me as need­ed.”

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →