World

May 30, 2013

Seven Summits team reaches peak of Mount Everest

Heather Uberuaga, Seven Summits Team
Air Force Safety Center Public Affairs

On May 19, the U. S. Air Force Seven Summits team reached Mount Everest, the highest point of the world, 29,035 feet. This success marks the first time a team of military members from any nation has reached all seven summits: Mount Elbrus in Russia, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mount Aconcagua in Argentina, Mount McKinley in Alaska, Mount Vinson in Antarctica, Mount Kosciuszko in Australia, and Mount Everest in Nepal.

The team included:

Maj. Rob Marshall, 34, a CV-22 acceptance pilot from Mercer Island, Wash., currently stationed at Bell Helicopter in Amarillo, Texas.

Capt. Andrew Ackles, 29, a TH-1N instructor pilot from Ashland, Ore., and stationed at Fort Rucker, Ala.

Capt. Marshall Klitzke, 30, a KC-135R pilot from Lemmon, S.D., currently an instructor pilot at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Capt. Colin Merrin, 28, a GPS satellite operations mission commander from Santee,

Calif., stationed at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.

Capt. Kyle Martin, 29, a T-38/F-16 pilot from Manhattan, Kan., currently stationed at Langley Air Force Base, Va.

Staff Sgt. Nick Gibson, 36, a Reserve pararescueman and physician-assistant student from Gulf Breeze, Fla., stationed at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.

“Fifty years after the first American boots stood on top of the world, the first American military team has followed in those footsteps,” said retired Col. Rob Suminsby, USAF Seven Summits team support. “The team unfurled the Stars and Stripes and the U.S. Air Force flag on the summit right after 5 a.m. in Nepal.”

Though unable to make the journey themselves, Suminsby and Maj. Mark Uberuaga, co-founder of the USAF Seven Summits project, supported the team at home by keeping the blog updated and relaying key messages to friends and family members of the team.

“We were all on this journey with them. The day they took off for the summit we received 12,000 hits to the website,” said Uberuaga. “The Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Welsh, commented on one of the blogs a couple days prior to the summit attempt. The team knew the entire Air Force was rooting for them. I know they carried that with them to the top.”

The 7 Summits Challenge began eight years ago when Wrath 11, an Air Force Special Operations Command MC-130H ‘Talon II’ crashed in Albania in March 2005.

“Rob and I had been planning a climb of Mount Elbrus in Russia, which is the highest point in Europe, before the crash,” said Uberuaga. “We decided to dedicate the climb to our fallen friends. It was something we could do to honor them and it helped us deal with the loss.”

As the planning continued, Marshall and Uberuaga decided to launch an effort to climb all of the seven summits to raise funds and awareness for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, a charity that provides full scholarship grants, as well as educational and family counseling, to the surviving children of special operations personnel who lose their lives in operational or training missions.

Two of the climbers, Capt. Colin Merrin and Staff Sgt. Nick Gibson, turned back before the summit due to illness and concerns over frostbite.

“These guys deserve a huge amount of credit, as they made one of the toughest decisions a climber can make, turning around short of the summit,” said Col. Suminsby. “Both made a good decision to turn back. The team was committed to safety throughout the process, and their actions are shining examples of how to do the right thing even when it’s disappointing and not easy. A lot of people have been willing to sacrifice fingers or toes to reach the summit, but this team defined success from the outset as bringing everyone back in one piece.”

Key to the team’s success was including risk management in the planning and execution process. All members of the team are trained in risk management and use the principles in their day jobs and while mountaineering.

“The Air Force Safety Center has been a strong supporter of this effort,” said Suminsby. “They recognized early on that this is an opportunity to promote a risk management mindset in all Airmen.”

Learn more about this effort by going to USAF 7 Summits Challenge at http://www.usaf7summits.com/




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
wall

The writing on the “Walls”

The “Thunder and Lightning Over Arizona” open house will feature many showcases, mostly centered on aerial displays. But one exhibit takes us from the skies to the ground and across thousands of miles to the sands of Iraq, ...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo/ Master Sgt. Jack Braden)

Arizona’s F-16 schoolhouse builds capable partners, strong bonds

Over European castles, Middle Eastern deserts and Pacific islands, F-16 fighter pilots are soaring in ever-increasing numbers. Their experiences, nationalities and cultures are different, but they share several common bonds. Th...
 
 

AF MiCare now fully implemented

WASHINGTON – The Air Force has recently completed implementation of its secure healthcare-messaging system, MiCare, to all 76 of its medical treatment facilities worldwide. As of March 1, more than 360,000 Air Force healthcare beneficiaries and 2,300 providers have signed up for this service, which allows the patient and provider to communicate on a secure network regarding non-urgent...
 

 

Changes coming to deployed Airman pay

WASHINGTON (AFNS) – Starting June 1, Airmen deployed to several locations will see significant changes to pay programs. The biggest change includes the discontinuation of imminent danger pay, or IDP, in multiple countries. The DOD-wide announcement impacts Airmen deployed to 15 countries. “The IDP recertification process is an assessment that includes input from combatant commands, th...
 
 

Airmen can ‘chat’ live via myPers for personnel support

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) – Air Force Personnel officials have implemented a live chat capability on the myPers website to allow real-time communication between Airmen and personnel specialists. Launched in 2012, myPers represents a shift from primarily face-to-face personnel interaction to a process that enables Airmen to handle their personnel transactions on demand...
 
 

Angel Thunder planners convene

More than 200 exercise planners from across the globe met at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base this week, in preparation for the upcoming annual Angel Thunder exercise May 4 – 17. The Angel Thunder Professional Control Force, under Headquarters Air Combat Command Exercises Division, conducted a three-day planning conference in which unit representatives developed the size...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin