Sunday, April 3, 2016

Amputee Iraq Veterans Taking on Everest Climb

Two Iraq veterans strive to be first combat amputees to climb Everest
Gregg Zoroya
April 3, 2016

Chad Jukes lost part of his right leg after a roadside bomb explosion in Iraq in 2006. The same happened to Thomas Charles "Charlie" Linville when he was Marine in Iraq in 2011.
(Photo: The Heroes Project)
The Heroes Project founder, Tim Medvetz, and Charlie Linville looking at Mount Everest in 2014.
Now Jukes, a former Army reserve staff sergeant, and Linville want to defy their disabilities in the most extreme way — by climbing the highest mountain in the world within the next two months. They could be the first combat amputees to reach that summit.

"There is a pressure to show the world that I can climb Mount Everest," said Jukes, 31, who, like Linville, has become a skilled mountain climber using a prosthesis. "To say, 'I have one leg, but I can climb Mount Everest. I have PTSD, but can climb Mount Everest. I have a traumatic brain injury, But I can climb Mount Everest.'"

Linville, 30, who is married and the father of two daughters, said he went from being a strong Marine to having people have pity for him after the amputation.

"Getting to the top I kind of view as vanquishing those demons, showing all these people that, 'Don't you have pity for disabled veterans because we're capable of so much more than you think," Linville said.

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