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.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal E. Watson)

Living the American Dream

SOUTHWEST ASIA — On Christmas day in 1991, the Soviet flag flew over the Kremlin in Moscow for the last time. People across the country took what jobs they could find, getting paid a fraction of what they made before as...
 
 

AFSOUTH Airmen visit orphans

(U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Heather R. Redman) Staff Sgt. Katie Adams, Master Sgt. Roberto Vasquez and Capt. Sarah Hartenstein, all members of 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern), take a group photo with the children at Casa de Corderitos orphanage outside the city of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, June 18. The 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH) members...
 
 

AF begins enlisted PME enrollment notifications

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — Last week, the Air Force Personnel Center initiated a phased approach to notify approximately 83,000 Airmen of the requirement to enroll in the applicable enlisted professional military education distance learning course. AFPC will notify 20,000 Airmen at the beginning of each month until all members have been notified....
 

 
Congeniality_pict

More than just Ms. Congeniality: Airman competes for homeless female veterans

For Tech. Sgt. Charmaine Pozo, the Ms. Veteran America contest was not about glamourous pageantry. It was about tireless advocacy – for a minimally acknowledged segment of those who have served in uniform: homeless female...
 
 

Enlisted evaluation, promotion systems updated

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — With static closeout dates for each rank in place, the Air Force announced it will update the enlisted performance report forms and utilize new forced distribution and senior rater stratification restrictions to round out the incremental changes to enlisted evaluation and promotion systems with performance as the driving factor in promotions. For...
 
 

Don’t throw a fit — get fit

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, ARIZONA — It’s a controversial topic that has been brought up by many Airmen — changing the abdominal circumference standards on the Air Force fitness assessment test. After months of debate, it was decided by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III that the standards will stay the same....
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>