Wounded Airman Jumps Again

MSgt. Israel Del Toro completed his 131st parachute jump at the US Air Force Academy, Colo., on Feb. 18. It had been about 12 years since his 130th jump—a time filled with the struggle and courage of his recovery from 100 percent disability status after a 2005 roadside bomb detonated under his Humvee in Afghanistan. The explosion took off his nose, severed his fingers, and gave him third-degree burns on 80 percent of his body, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported. His doctors gave him only a 15 percent chance to survive, and they told him he would never walk again. He was medically discharged, but in 2010 Del Toro became the first 100 percent disabled airman allowed by the service to re-enlist. He also discovered a talent for cycling and track and field events along the way, and he has participated in the USAF World Class Athlete program and has competed at paralympic events such as the Warrior Games and Invictus Games. Del Toro is currently a military training noncommissioned officer in the 98th Flying Training Squadron at the Academy, according to a USAFA spokesman. He works as an instructor in the Academy’s parachuting airmanship courses and trains cadets trying out for Wings of Blue, the Academy’s parachuting demonstration and competition team.