When you first see U.S. Air Force pilot Christy Wise, a Captain at the time this video was done, you will see a young, beautiful woman with an electric smile and an easy, affable confidence about her. When you hear what happened to her and what she has been through to get back into the pilot seat, you will know that you have met a person of great worth.
You will hear her talk about how, back in 2015, while doing some scuba diving training, she was out paddleboarding when she was struck and severely injured by a hit-and-run powerboat driver. She was able to react in time to get most of her body away from the speeding boat, but her lower right leg was destroyed by the boat’s propeller.
Within 3 minutes, she had lost up to 65% of her blood, but she was helped by a friend in the water, who wrapped a tourniquet around her right thigh. A fishing boat driver who had witnessed the event then took Wise aboard his boat and provided a fishing net handle to secure and tighten the tourniquet. Wise’s right leg would later have to be amputated just above the knee, and she would then have to undergo eight months of intensive rehabilitation, including learning how to walk again. But she didn’t stop there.
Wise did much of her rehab at a facility with other military personnel who were also amputees. She watched and saw what they were learning and what they could eventually do and was inspired by them and their support for her. Many of these other military amputees were even doing well enough to be able to go back to active duty. Capt. Wise had the same intention. She wanted to stay in the Air Force and to get back to flying.
One of the Air Force medical personnel, also an amputee, who was working with Wise, encouraged her to get involved with the Warrior Games at the Quantico Marine Corps base. This is an organization that provides high-end, highly skilled athletic games for amputees. They compete in every sport that able-bodied athletes play. Wise was a natural.
Capt. Wise had the physical skills, the mental toughness, and the limitless positive attitude and desire to get back to doing what she loves most, that is, flying for the United States Air Force. Because of Wise’s determination and her natural physical and mental aptitude, she has become the 6th Air Force amputee to get back into flying. She is the first female Air Force pilot to do so.
Wise was helped along the way by a very special person, her twin sister, who is a doctor. Her sister was able to get a job at the rehab facility so she could work with her sister during her eight-month-long rehab process. The two sisters also started a non-profit together called, “One Leg Up On Life.” They work with kids in Haiti who have lost limbs in major earthquakes. They get prosthetics for them and train them how to use their new prosthetics to walk and even to run again. It is clear that Capt. Wise loves to help them too.
Now an Air Force Major, Christy Wise is back in the cockpit flying her HC 130-J planes again. And that beautiful, electric smile is brighter even than before.
The Veterans Site wishes to add its congratulations to Maj. Christy Wise on getting back into the pilot seat with her Air Force brother and sister pilots. We thank you for being such a powerful inspiration for all of us. We honor you for your service in the United States Air Force and for your enthusiasm, your courage, and your determination to carry on with such a vibrant and positive attitude. You are the best. Fly, Fight, Win!