“Nasty Corporal Keys returns to the 618th” in 618 Days

SSG Noah Watts tandem jumps CPL Adam Keys

Today, Sergeant Adam Keys triple amputee accomplished an astronomical goal by making his 10th airborne jump with the United States Army Parachute Team, ­­­ Golden Knights at Laurinburg-Maxton Drop Zone in Laurinburg, North Carolina. Tandem Master, Staff Sergeant Noah Watts, and Sergeant 1stClass Joe Jones, Tandem Team Leader meticulously adjusted, secured and suited Keys into a stylish black and gold jumpsuit, harness, helmet and glove in preparation of the big jump. Keys completed a tandem class on Tuesday, March 20 planning to make the jump, but either the weather and or a bit of fate had other plans.

Adam and His mom Julie Keys waiting to make their 10th jump

July 14, 2010, exactly six-hundred and eighteen days ago, during the 27ths Operation Enduring Freedom rotation in Afghanistan, Keys was involved in a catastrophic accident that has been like an unbelievable nightmare. A roadside bomb, also known as an improvised explosive device (IED), exploded under his Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) convoy vehicle betweenKandahar and Laghman. In the attack, Cpl. Keys was critically injured and was medevaced to Kandahar to Bagram Airfield to Landstuhl Regional Med­ical Center in Germany. The other four Soldiers involved Specialist Chase Stanley, SPC. Matthew J. Johnson, Sgt. Zachary M. Fisher and SPC. Jesse D. Reed, (Keys best friend), were all killed during the enormous explosion. 

Six days af­ter a bomb had pro­pelled the MRAP he was riding in into the air and deposited it in a man­gled heap on the road; Keys arrived atWalterReedArmyMed­icalCenterinWash­ington,D.C.Days af­ter that, his con­dition turned grave. This tragic accident has been a continual life-threatening journey for CPL Keys who suffered traumatic brain injury and numerous broken bones when his truck was struck by the IED. Julie Keys, his mother said, ”While hospitalized he “coded” several times was resuscitated and miraculously brought back to life.” 

Keys contracted a se­vere infection in his blood stream that ultimately resulted in a host of life-threat­ening prob­lems, including extremely low blood pressure and kidney fail­ure. Courtney Keys heard a doctor de­scribe her broth­er’s con­dition as “incompat­i­ble with life.” Basically, the Doctors had just giv­en up hope. Med­ication in­tended to drive blood to the heart, lungs and brain re­stricted blood flow to the extrem­ities. Healthy bod­ies can han­dle the lim­ited blood flow, but Keys’ frac­tured limbs weren’t getting enough blood to survive.

“You could see it in the extrem­ities, his legs and hands were turning a brown col­or,” Julie Keys said. “They were dying.” Three limbs — both legs and his left hand — were ampu­tated with­in the week.

CPT Roy, Jule Keys, Adam Keys and SGT Cruz

Keys has endured over 120 surgeries to repair his shoulder, knee, limbs and his skin. He has recently been fitted with a new left prosthetic robotic arm, and two prosthetic legs. Adam is continually proving to be Army Strong training to increase his mobility, strength and endurance. On 5 March 2012, CPL Keys made a video of his first steps with his new legs, and at the end, he said “See Nasty–THAT’S how it’s done!”


He had two short term goals, which he was determined to complete: He wanted to run from the back door of 20th Engineer Brigade  known to the unit as “The Nasty”, all the way to Longstreet and back with his company (approximately 7 miles), and he wants to exit an aircraft one more time. The reason behind the “one more jump” wish is quite comical.  CPL Keys’ Mother made nine jumps when she was nineteen years old in South Africaand CPL Keys had nine Airborne Operations at the time of his incident.  He had said that he wanted to jump one more time so that he has more jumps than his Mother, but instead they paired up and she completed her 10th jump along side of her son.


This trip to Fort Bragg is his first “Off Post Pass” from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, where he has spent the last 607 days of his life. Following the jump Adam, his Brigade, Golden Knights, friends and family gathered for group photos. Adam said, “ This means everything to me, I feel beautiful, this jump was so awesome. I can’t thank the Golden Knights, my unit, The Wounded Warrior Program and my mom and dad enough. I love you mom.” ” If anyone tells you  that you can’t, their wrong you can do anything. This proves that you just have to believe.”

Adam’s mother Julie and father Steve accompanied him to Fort Bragg making his dream come true. He conquered his two short term goals: He carried his team colors and guideon leading his battalion and about three hundred Soldiers from units across post, on his seven mile road march, with the assistance of the Wounded Warrior Program, mother and son made a tandem jump with the Golden Knights. About 70 Soldiers from the 20th Engineer Battalion, made a jump in his honor on 20 March, 2012 on Normandy DZ, he was honored at a banquet at the 20th Engineer Dining Facility on Smokebomb hill and hopes to be promoted to Sergeant soon.


 Today is the 618th day since Adam s horrendous life changing accident and he is assigned to the 618th Now tell me was it coincidence, weather or fate that Adam and Julie jumped Thursday, March 22, 2012 ??? 

We salute, admire and thank this young hero for his support to our nation.

CPL Keys was estatic following his jump, just share his happiness

Adam and the “Nasty”



  • makis kafantaris

    First of all j would like to express my congratulations to Corporal Keys and his mother. J am 74 years old still skydiving and member of SRA.Corpolar Keys is a real warrior ,a hero.J wish him more tandem jumps.In 1969 my instructor in HELO was s.major Bob Danahiu from golden knights who came to Greece along with 10th spec forc team.As a veteran skydiver j feel proud of crl Keys.GOD give him 100 years!
    Best regards
    Makis Kafantaris ,retired officer Geek special forces.

  • Joanne Roach

    I am Adam’s Aunt from Nova Scotia and I just want to Thank the Golden Knights for making Adam’s 10th jump happen. I have not seen or heard Adam so happy in a very long time. It is fantastic to see him so pumped up and smiling. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

  • Kim

    What a wonderful goal to accomplish. Congratulations to you and your mother on your 10th jump to do that together is priceless and my heart is filled with such joy for you both. ADAM YOU ARE ARMY STRONG and an inspiration for all. All our love the Cramsey family

  • Henry Walton, Sr

    What an amazing story and a true testament of God’s love and mercy. Congratulations CPL Keys; sure this is one of many goals you have set for yourself.

  • Tom pettid

    Very cool story I was with the nasty back in 94-99 when they were attached to the 82airborne Keep it up never give up

  • http://twitter.com/VictorCristian5 Victor Cristian

    The Nasty is the greatest!

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