Bowman gained worldwide attention when he and his teammate Sgt. Jose Aguillon collided in midair during the U.S Army's elite parachute team annual training on February 6, 1994.
Dana Bowman has astounded the world with his drive, determination, and will to succeed. He is a retired First Class Sergeant 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.
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 U.S Army, skydiving with his commander into the ceremony. This achievement is just one example of Bowman's many successes under adverse circumstances.
Dana became the U.S Parachute Team's lead speaker and recruiting commander, his speeches touching physically-challenged and able-bodied alike. 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.
Dana retired from the U.S Army in 1996. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in commercial aviation at the University of North Dakota in May of 2000. He now spends a great deal of his personal time working with other amputees and disabled or physically-challenged people.