U.S. Army Captain, Chad Fleming, is a highly decorated Army Ranger who served several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and, although he doesn’t like the term applied to him, is a true American hero. On October 5, 2005, Chad was on a mission in northern Iraq when his convoy was ambushed. Hit with bullets and hand grenades, Chad received several injuries that required a trans-tibial amputation of part of his left leg. What makes Chad truly unique was his determination to rejoin his team following his injury. Defying what doctors and surgeons thought possible, he returned to combat not one, but five times.
Chad has since retired from the Army in order to raise money for other wounded veterans, working closely with Marcus Luttrell, former United States Navy SEAL and author of Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10. Chad is also the official Under Armour spokesman for the UA Freedom campaign. He has been hired by everyone from professional sports teams to Fortune 500 companies to speak on endurance, motivation, and courage. In his spare time, Chad runs marathons and triathlons, as well as competes in 300 – 400 mile bike races.
Chad’s courage, motivation, and humility are an inspiration for all of us here at Essentium and TriFusion. We were honored to present him with his first 3D printed prosthetic leg when he visited College Station on September 16th. Having never met him before, the TriFusion team used a picture and an old plaster cast of his limb to print his prosthetic overnight with Essentium’s Carbon Fiber-filled Polycarbonate (PC/CF) filament.
Much to our delight and expectation, Chad was walking immediately after trying on the socket! Chad told us, “It is surprisingly very comfortable. That normally doesn’t happen.”
Given the precision of TriFusion’s printing abilities and Essentium’s high performance materials, we hope to replicate experiences like Chad’s as we develop the next generation of prosthetic devices, affording the gift of physical and financial freedom to people with disabilities, including American veterans.