Retired Sgt. Derrick McMillon, US Army
Sergeant First Class Derrick McMillon is a man who doesn’t like to be slowed down. A former Army Ranger and proud veteran, Derrick has adapted to his injuries well and stays as active as possible. Now, Derrick is taking on a new challenge; scuba diving with the Dive Pirates.
After high school, Derrick was quite the rowdy teenager and decided to join the Army rather than go back to school. He made the best of his time with the military, starting as an infantryman before shifting to transportation, then the Army Rangers. It was during his time as a Ranger that he was severely wounded by an IED in 2001. The shock wave from the explosion caused a spinal fracture along Derrick’s L-4 and L-5 vertebrae, severely limiting his motion. After multiple surgeries and rehabilitation he was medically discharged in 2003.
Today, Derrick struggles with getting around and staying mobile. Because of his injury, his lower body no longer possesses its same range of motion, forcing him to rely on a cane to get around most days. He also suffers from occasional numbness in his upper body that causes loss in his dexterity, often dropping things. On top of his physical injuries, Derrick struggles with PTSD like many veterans who have been in harm’s way. Initially Derrick had a rough time coming to terms with his situation, but through adaptive sports and a supportive family, he has learned to make the most of it.
Derrick has always held an interest in water sports. The water provides him with a relief from the aches and pains of his injury as well as increasing his range of motion. He did scuba diving for the Army in the 1980’s, and has held a fascination with the sport ever since.
Derrick trained alongside his wife Dianne with Instructor Matthew Crawford of Dive Georgia.