These two veterans didn't fight in the same battlefield, but now they're on the similar but parallel mission: to be the first combat amputee at the top of Mt. Everest.
Retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Chad Jukes, 32, lost his leg to a roadside bomb in Iraq. Former U.S. Marine Charlie Linville, 30, had part of his leg removed after he stepped on a buried explosive in Afghanistan.
Both returned to the United States with post-traumatic stress. Both searched for a way to relieve that stress in their own lives and raise awareness of it in others. Then, separately, they came up with the same inspiring solution.
“Not only will I be climbing the tallest mountain in the world but I'll be doing it while raising issues for veterans,” Jukes said.
That's a sentiment Linville would likely agree with. The former Marine is making his ascent alongside other members of the Heroes Project, a non-profit that works to promote better care for veterans.
“The Everest climb has never been about myself, it has always been about the Heroes Project,” the former Marine said. “Hopefully we can inspire others to get up and accomplish their goals and have a meaningful life.”
Both veterans hope to reach the summit in late May.