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Ex-Joint Chiefs chair undergoes spinal surgery

Shelton retired in September as Joint Chiefs chairman.
Shelton retired in September as Joint Chiefs chairman.  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Retired Gen. Henry "Hugh" Shelton, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is listed in fair condition at Walter Reed Army Medical Center after successful spinal surgery Tuesday.

Shelton underwent a procedure called a laminectomy and instrumented fusion to relieve pressure from his spine and fuse the spinal canal, according to hospital officials.

The chief of neurosurgery at Walter Reed said Shelton is "doing well."

A hospital statement said he has been moved out of intensive care and back to a regular ward.

The operation came after a number of weeks of rehabilitation after a fall from the roof of his suburban Virginia home in March left Shelton briefly paralyzed.

His rehabilitation has progressed to the point that he is now able to walk under his own power.

Shelton will continue recovering and undergoing rehabilitation at Walter Reed.

Shelton completed a four-year term as Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman on September 30, 2001. He previously was chief of the U.S. Special Operations Command.

He led the Haitian intervention in 1994-95 and was assistant division commander for operations of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) during the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

Shelton's other commands have included the 82nd Airborne Division and the 18th Airborne Corps. He served two tours in Vietnam, first with the 5th Special Forces Group and then with the 173rd Airborne Brigade.

The Tarboro, North Carolina, native has received the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, a Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.




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