US Special Forces Soldier makes unusual jump


Special Forces Soldier makes unusual jump

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Feb. 27, 2007) – Master Sgt. Christopher Self exited a C-130, deployed his parachute, and executed a near-perfect landing during an airborne operation at Fort Campbell, Ky., Feb. 23.

While this occurrence has taken place more than 70 times in Self’s career, this was the first time he had jumped as an amputee after losing partial use of his right leg in combat Dec. 28, 2005.

“We have all known soldiers that can contribute to Airborne units that can no longer jump, but jumping is a part of being Special Forces,” said Self, the 5th Special Forces Group dive locker NCO. “I have always loved to jump and knew that if I was going to stay in I would have to be able to jump again. It really did not feel any different from any of my other jumps, except the anticipation leading up to leaving the aircraft which I will equate to my first jump at Airborne School.”

Self was assigned to an Iraqi Army base in 2005 when he came across an armed, 16-man prison escape. Though he and his men eliminated the threat, he was shot in both legs during the firefight that ensued. He was evacuated to Germany, then sent to recover at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Maryland.

“When I was in Walter Reed, doctors were optimistic about my nerves healing, but over the next seven months my leg never improved,” Self said. “After six Electromyograms (muscle nerve function tests) and three different neurologists, the conclusion was I would never run or be athletic again. The only option that would allow me to continue to do the thing I love was to have the leg amputated below the knee.”

The amputation was performed in July, 2006, and Self was fitted for a prosthetic replacement shortly afterwards. Self explained that he has several versions: one for everyday use, one for scuba diving, one for riding a bicycle, and a running leg that he plans to use to run several upcoming marathons. Though his legs serve many purposes, the main reason for them is to enable him to perform as a Soldier.

“I have always intended on staying in the Army until I no longer enjoyed what I was doing,” Self explained. “I had just extended to stay until 25 years, and I felt it was my responsibility to try to stick to that commitment. I feel like I can still contribute to the Army and Special Forces.”

Self will begin to contribute to Special Forces in a new way when he takes over the position of 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group Headquarters Support Company first sergeant later this year. His new unit is deployed regularly, but he said he is not nervous about going back downrange.

“My goals are to have my company ready to support the ODAs (Operational Detachment-Alpha), be prepared to react to any situation that they might face and to bring everyone home in one piece,” Self said. “My company will be prepared to provide the ODAs with whatever they need to accomplish their mission.”

Self said that he hasn’t changed much throughout his ordeal, but knows it could have been a lot worse. Plus, he appreciates the time he gets to spend with his family more than before.

“I didn’t choose what happened to me so I would not say that I am tough at all,” Self said. “I have simply tried to improve on what I have. I think that is what makes our Special Forces so good; we constantly focus on improvement instead of looking at the negative side of a situation


Good Stuff Master Sgt Self.

Several years ago I knew a SGT who lost an arm during Confrontasi in the early 1960s. He stayed in, kept qualifying with the rifle every year, didn't seem to be affected too badly. I think he ended up serving until the late 1990s - almost 40 years in the job.

Thumbs up from me!
Well done that man! having worked at Ft. Campbell next to that jumping area, full respect!!!


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