When a door rigged with explosives in Iraq cost Sgt. Adam Kisielewski his left arm at the shoulder and his right leg below the knee, becoming a pilot wasn’t even a dream induced by the painkillers that were soon coursing through his body. It was August 21, 2005, and for Adam, each minute was a time for survival, not dreams. Adam struggled to make it back from the blast that not only left him critically wounded, but took the life of a fellow Marine on the mission. From emergency treatment in the field to being airlifted to Bethesda and Walter Reed for treatment and rehabilitation, he faced a series of challenges that many would have found insurmountable.
It was a defining time for the young man from Wisconsin who had enlisted after 9/11 and had previously been selected to provide contingency security for the President at Camp David before being deployed near Fallujah, Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. But in the years since his injury, Adam has not only survived, but thrived. He and his wife are raising their young son, he has completed college, and he works for a nonprofit that helps other wounded veterans.
Several years ago, Adam was awarded his first Able Flight Scholarship. With that scholarship he became a Sport Pilot by training in a Flight Design CT at the Frederick, MD airport with instructors Dave Hirschman and Dean Stickell. Later, with his 3rd class medical certificate approved, Able Flight made it possible for him to earn his Private Pilot Certificate training in a Diamond DA-40. Now, not only will he be able to take his whole family on vacations, he’ll be able to fly himself on business trips, a freedom not even imaginable only a few years ago.