Staff Sgt. Shaun Meadows felt the adrenaline pumping, just like his first jump oh so many years ago before he was an airman.
This 200th-plus time would be different, though. It would be his last and one for the record book: Never before had an active-duty double amputee dropped from an Air Force plane. He hadnt had a parachute back on since he lost his legs two years ago in Afghanistan and he was ready.
He looked out the wide-open back of the C-17 Globemaster III, down to the field at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Then, on titanium legs, with their hydraulic mechanisms, microchips and weight sensors, he stepped out into nothingness and made history.
Meadows, a combat controller with the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron, went into his freefall. As the earth came rushing up, he opened his chute and settled into a sitting position. Before he knew it, he touched ground and skidded gracefully to a stop.
I wanted to do [a] stand-up landing, but I was screaming in pretty fast, he said.