Retired Army Gen. Henry H. Shelton, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is recovering well from a fall but will need spinal cord surgery, Walter Reed Army Medical Center said Wednesday.

Shelton "is showing some gradual improvement" and isn't having any problems with his speech or breathing, a hospital statement said.

"He is now able to stand with assistance but is still experiencing weakness in his right leg and both arms," the hospital said.

Shelton was moving from the Intensive Care Unit to a general patient ward on Wednesday. No date was scheduled for the surgery.

Shelton suffered a spinal injury when he fell off a ladder Saturday at his home in a Virginia suburb outside Washington.

He was partially paralyzed on arrival at the hospital.

Shelton, 62, stepped down as Joint Chiefs chairman Oct. 1, just before the United States went to war in Afghanistan in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He had served 38 years in the Army, the last four as the top military adviser to the president.

Shelton served two tours of duty in Vietnam and was a member of the Army's elite special forces. He was assistant division commander of operations for the 101st Airborne Division during the 1991 Gulf War.