Airman Deploys After Losing Son in Iraq
Increasingly he felt conspicuous because he had not deployed, while others had already been more than once. He felt the time had come for him to step up and fulfill his duty, promises to his wife or not.
"It just felt wrong to be the one guy who hadn't deployed even once," he said. "I could have always waited until they exhausted all the other people and called me up. But I wasn't going to wait until all that happened. These are my friends and my co-workers."
Martinez is one of the unit's most respected and well-liked troops, and not because of his son's death in uniform, said Senior Master Sgt. Herlinda Carreon. A lot of it has to do with his willingness to step up, she said.
Soldiers Climb Mount McKinley
"I had 100-percent confidence that Capt. McNulty was going to teach me what I needed to know," Ward said. "We were going in there as a team, and if he was going to slide off a ridge, I was going to try and stop us, or I was just going off with him."
Word got around the national climbing community, and the duo quickly picked up sponsorships for additional equipment. Their title sponsor, Mystery Ranch, specializes in making custom packs for the U.S. special operations community and wanted the Soldiers to test their equipment in the toughest conditions on the continent, said Mark Seacat, a company field representative. According to
McNulty, Seacat also provided invaluable mentorship to the team.
The two said they ensconced several unit coins at the peak as they had promised, and the national and battalion colors were flown in honor of the country and the units who had trusted them to come back triumphant and ready to deploy.
"This is a motivator to Soldiers not to sit around, but to take Alaska in to its fullest," McNulty said. "There is so much this state has to offer. Go to MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) and rent equipment if you have to in order to enjoy the state."
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