Wounded airman & gold medal shot-putter flies high with the Wings of Blue

Del Toro's Return to the Sky
Last year he became the first para-world class athlete to try and make it to the Paralympics. Now, he's got a somewhat new endeavor. / Air Force Academy

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A wounded airman turned gold medal shot-putter has been beating the odds and breaking records.

Now he’s crossing another high flying goal off his list – skydiving.

Eleven years ago, Master Sergeant Israel Del Toro was fighting in Afghanistan when an IED blasted his Humvee. He suffered third-degree burns on 80 percent of his body, was declared dead three times, and was in a coma for 5 months.

Doctors gave him a 15 percent chance to live, saying at best he may not walk again and his military career was over.

However, Del Toro has since proved they were very wrong.

“I don’t know, something just keeps driving me,” said Del Toro.

In 2010, he became the first 100 percent disabled airman to ever re-enlist. During his recovery, he tried out some different sports and started to excel in track and field, finding his passion for throwing shot and disc.

Last year, he became the first para-world class athlete to try and make it to the Paralympics.

Now, he’s got a somewhat new endeavor.

Del Toro said, “When I came back to the Air Force, not only did I have like big picture goals like what could I do to help the Air Force but I had three personal goals and my three personal goals were to fly an airplane, to do my job one last time and by calling an airstrike and the last one was to jump again.”

Before his injury, Del Toro had already made 130 sky dive jumps in his career.

On Saturday, February 18, he jumped out of a plane for the very first time since the attack.

“By the time I can even think about it I’m at the door, body half way out the door, the jump master says go and I let go and I’m in the air,” said Del Toro.

He’s now fulfilled all three of his life goals.

“It was an amazing feeling being back in the air, having your knees in the breeze.” Del Toro said, “It was such a great feeling.”

Now officially a member of the Wings of Blue sky diving squadron, Del Toro just won’t quit.

“I still have something in me to give back and I really enjoy being in the military. I really enjoy my job.” said Del Toro.

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