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Special Tactics Squadron double amputee makes historic jump

Staff Sgt. Shaun Meadows, 22nd Special Tactics Squadron, shares a laugh with his son after completing a personnel drop June 14. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Leah Young)

Staff Sgt. Shaun Meadows, 22nd Special Tactics Squadron, shares a laugh with his son after completing a personnel drop June 14. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Leah Young)

Staff Sgt. Shaun Meadows, 22nd Special Tactics Squadron, prepares to land as he completes a personnel drop on June 14. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Leah Young)

Staff Sgt. Shaun Meadows, 22nd Special Tactics Squadron, prepares to land as he completes a personnel drop on June 14. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Leah Young)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Air Force history was made yesterday 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 Sergeant Shaun Meadows, along with 39 of his co-workers, conducted a practice run parachute jump from a C-17 Globemaster III in order to prepare for Wednesday's change of command ceremony.

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

"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, 22nd STS first sergeant. "He's doing what he loves."

Yesterday's 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, 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 on Wednesday, 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 Lt. Col. 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 is preparing for Wednesday's jump and 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."