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Posts Tagged ‘Air Force’

Rainier Success! What’s Next: “50 Summits Challenge”

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

With the Mt. Rainier climb a big success (see article link below), what’s next for the USAF 7 Summits Challenge? ¬†Well, we have some pretty exciting stuff in the works. ¬†Most notably, we are formulating a new project we will likely call the “USAF 50 Summits Challenge”.

The project’s goal would be similar to the 7 Summits Challenge in that we want Airmen to get outside and reach the summit of peaks! ¬†However, this project won’t involve expeditions to far flung corners of the Earth. ¬†Rather, our goal will be to get the Air Force flag to the summit of the highest point in each of the 50 states. ¬†In doing so, we will work to promote resiliency, camaraderie, and esprit d’ corps among Airmen.

Organizing 50 climbs would be overwhelming, so we will be looking for help from Airmen all over America.  Once the Challenge begins, we will be looking for motivated climbers and outdoorsy Airmen to head up a trip to the highest peak in their state.  So stay tuned and be a part of history!

Climb High, Fly Low,

Maj Rob Marshall


Wounded Airmen Aiming to Reach Everest Base Camp!

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Send these American Airmen on an epic journey sure to help them heal from their ordeals mentally, physically, and spiritually. ¬†We need to raise $20,000 before Feb 25th to ensure these wounded warriors have plane tickets, permits, guides, and lodging as they accompany the USAF 7 Summits Challenge on our trek to Everest Base Camp. ¬†Using the link below, your donations to the AF Rescue community’s charity, “That Others May Live Foundation” are tax deductible and will go directly to the mission to send these Airmen on this important and powerful trip deep into the Himalayan mountains.




Senior Master Sgt. Robert Disney, 35, USAF Pararescueman, survived a gunshot wound to the head on April 18, 2003, when enemy forces ambushed his special operations team as they inserted to a remote location in Central Pakistan.¬† A shining example of resilience and the warrior spirit, Disney has also endured a helicopter crash (Aug ‚Äė02), witnessed the death of six close friends in another helicopter crash (Mar ‚Äė03), and suffered a traumatic brain injury from a 15-foot fall onto his back during helicopter operations.¬† He was stationed at Moody Air Force Base, GA (‚Äė98-‚Äô04, ‚Äė07-‚Äô11) and RAF Mildenhall, UK before joining the Standards and Evaluations division at Air Combat Command Headquarters, Langley AFB, VA.¬† Disney is a devoted advocate for Wounded Warrior issues and has become a highly successful public speaker.¬† Robert is from Central Illinois and is married to Tess Disney from Nashville, GA.


Tech. Sgt. Daniel Houghton, 28, USAF Pararescueman, was wounded Feb. 17, 2007, in a devastating MH-47 helicopter crash in Zabul Province, Afghanistan.  Despite near fatal injuries and a snow storm, Houghton maintained a security position in the fractured wreckage until he was rescued four hours later. While recovering from a follow-on surgery in June 2009, he learned that his brother, George Bryan Houghton, an F-16 pilot, had died in a training accident at Hill AFB, Utah.  Undeterred, Houghton fought his way back to a full recovery as an operational Pararescueman through the aid of the Athlete’s Performance Institute in Gulf Breeze, FL.   After four years as a Pararescue School Instructor at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM, he was recently selected as a Special Tactics Recruiter at his brother’s former home of Hill Air Force Base, UT.  Dan hails from Asheville, NC and is married to Marjorie Houghton from San Antonio, TX.

Capt Augustin Viani, 28, USAF, entered Combat Rescue Officer training directly after graduating the Air Force Academy in 2007. In Jan 2009, he sustained a fall during helicopter rope ladder training, resulting in a concussion and fractured spine. He was surgically repaired with a titanium spinal fusion. He recovered and was waivered to resume training 6 months later. In Dec 2009, he graduated as a Combat Rescue Officer, being assigned to the 48th Rescue Squadron, Davis-Monthan AFB. After 2 OEF deployments (250 missions), Capt Viani was in a canopy entanglement with another teammate during parachuting training in August 2011.  The crash-landing resulted in a concussion, multiple pelvic fractures, rib fractures and torn knee ligament. He was immediately repaired with titanium hardware, followed by knee surgery 5 months later after being wheel chair bound for 3 months. Capt Viani recovered and was waivered again to resume training in Oct 2012.  Gus is married to Emily Viani from Albuquerque, NM.



Interview w/ Alan Arnette

Monday, February 4th, 2013

One of our Everest climbers was interviewed by Alan Arnette, who runs the most popular Everest / 7 Summits website on the planet.¬† The team met Alan during the 2010 climb of Antarctica’s highest peak, Mt. Vinson.¬† Alan was climbing the 7 Summits to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s and has gone on to create a huge website dedicated to high-altitude mountaineering.

Today he released an interview with Major Rob Marshall, one of our Everest climbers and the co-founder of the USAF 7 Summits Challenge.¬† The interview does a great job summing up the ‘Challenge and the team’s goals.

Alan’s site is viewed by hundreds of thousands of consistent readers and his support of the team should be a great help in spreading the exciting message of this Everest climb.

Check it out on Alan’s site: http://www.alanarnette.com/blog/2013/02/04/everest-2013-interview-with-rob-marshall-us-air-force-7-summits/

Descending from ‘high camp’, Antarctica 2010

Bluebird in the Whites

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Training Update: Bluebird in the Whites
by Maj. Malcolm Schongalla, LC-130 Pilot, US Air Force Reserves


The thermometer was in the single digits, and the winds atop Mount Washington were breaking 100 mph.  Clear, cold, and not a cloud in the sky!  It was the perfect weekend to get outside, and stretch the muscles on some New Hampshire ice.

Yesterday (26 Jan 2013), I had warmed up to the chilly temperatures on a short excursion up Mt. Cardigan. ¬†My dashboard read 5’F at thetrailhead,and the higher we climbed, the windier it got. ¬†The bald summit was buffeted by gusts topping 50 knots o rmore, but Kelly and I bundled up and took in a great panorama. ¬†The only obstacle to my view was condensation from my own breath, which relentlessly hung around my sunglasses.

Today, I was looking to venture a little farther afield, so Dartmouth ice climber Ted Sumers and I hit the road for Crawford Notch at dawn. Ted had chosen some classic, moderate, New England ice routes that he wanted to test his lead skills on.  I was looking forward to testing out some adjustments on my gear.  I had tweaked the fit on my crampons, and had some new layers of clothing to check out.  We were soon on the approach at Mount Willard.

Our early start wasn’t enough to beat the first party to Cinema Gulley, so we backtracked to another great route called Left Handed Monkey Wrench. ¬†It was only 25 minutes from the car, and we soloed up some some easy water ice on what the guidebook euphemistically calls, “a rather sketchy approach.”


This route proved to be a nice, comfortable warm-up. ¬†After some easy WI-3 and some more hiking, we arrived at the start of the ever-asthetic Upper Hitchcock. ¬†Conditions were looking pretty fat, and we’d have no problem burying our longest ice screws. ¬†The striking,overhanging wall on climber’s left helped keep us nicely sheltered from the persistent wind. ¬†My layers were working out well. ¬†I had put my heavy mittens awaybefore the first gulley, and didn’t have to take them out again the rest of theday. ¬†My relatively lightweightsingle-leather boots were even keeping my feet warm in the frigid temps of the morning. ¬†My core was toasty, but not sweaty.


Upper Hitchcock topped out in a small alcove full of beautiful, delicate icicles. ¬†The sun reflected through them, and it reminded me of what I love most about climbingice. ¬†We rapped back down one ropelength, and sidestepped over to theexposed East Slabs of Mt. Willard to get in another route. ¬†At 2pm, we ticked off the coldest,longest, line of the day. ¬†The sun was asserting itself against the Arctic weather system, and we experienced adiverse spectrum of ice conditions all up and down the mountain. ¬†This is no Ouray Ice Park… ¬†From plastic to rotten, brittle to near-slush, ice routes in the White Mountains will keep you on your guard!

Making our way back to the car, I made note of the things I wanted to shore up during the next two months before Nepal. ¬†I’m going to upgrade the toe bails of my old Sabretooth crampons- ¬†BD now makes them with a metal tongue-and-ring that comes up over the toe of the boot, to mate with the anklestrap. ¬†The crampon adjustments kept the ‘pons firmly on my feet today, so I know they have potential. ¬†I’ve had problems with them in the past, and I won’t takethat chance on Lobuche. ¬†I’m also looking for suggestions for new boots for Nepal, and the crampons will have to fit those flawlessly, too. ¬†For layers, I need a bigger technical shell witha size “long” cut. ¬†And comparing yesterday to today, I felt a real benefit to wearing ski goggles instead of shades, that I haven’t previously noticed in warmer conditions.

Overall, a great weekend! ¬†Today’s bitter cold was an ironic contrast to the melting temperatures that slowed my operations in Antarctica last month. ¬†This winter is shaping up to be a great improvement over last year, in the Whites. ¬†And I’m looking forward to lots of trail climbing with heavy training backpacksduring the upcoming weeks!


Time Magazine Article

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

Check out this great article in Time Magazine’s online ‘Nation’ section regarding the USAF 7 Summits Challenge!


Maj Marshall skiing from the summit of Australia’s highest mountain with the Air Force flag flying above