Peru native returns to unit less than one year after helicopter crash

"She told me 'No, I don't think you understand. On paper you look a lot worse than you do in person. They didn't expect you to walk again. Your spinal canal is 60 percent compromised and with the loss of feeling that you have in your legs, it wasn't looking good,'" he recalled.

LaFountain was released from the Walter Reed Warrior Transition Battalion in early December and returned to Alaska where he was attached to B Company Warrior Transition Battalion. He continued to heal, qualified and competed in the inaugural Warrior Games in May at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., along with Sgt. Allen Marley, also from Fort Wainwright's WTB, who won a silver medal in the air pistol contest.

"It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Being able to go to the training center and live and train there for a week. It is something most anyone in the world would want to be able to experience and I got to do that," LaFountain said. "Being able to participate in the first Warrior Games was extremely inspiring. One of the best parts of these games is showing soldiers that they still have the opportunity to do things that they loved to do before."

LaFountain, a platoon sergeant and crew chief, returned to work June 1.

"Before I was a squad leader and before I got injured I was an assistant platoon sergeant. I'm doing my job," LaFountain said. "I don't get up so much on aircraft, fixing as I did before, because I have other responsibilities. I managed to receive a temporary up slip so that I can fly. We are waiting for word back from Fort Rucker..." about the permanent clearance."

"I've had two flights so far," LaFountain said. "It was good."

He said it wasn't scary getting back on a helicopter, but it was exciting.

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