FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska – Capt. Keelan McNulty, 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment, Task Force 49, and 1st Lt. Graham Ward, 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, reached the 20,320-foot Mount McKinley summit May 17 despite often debilitating challenges during all stages of the expedition. The first major challenge for expedition leader and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilot McNulty was finding a partner to accompany him on the arduous trek. He said he planned for three years to make the climb by taking a mountaineering course at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, buying equipment and training.
McNulty said he had partner prospects for months, but they all backed out due to scheduling conflicts. However, Ward offered to partner with McNulty, despite having no experience climbing any of the world’s major peaks.
McNulty said he didn’t take Ward seriously until the infantry scout platoon leader made plans for the duo to participate in training and firmly established his intentions when he purchased more than $5,000 of mountaineering equipment.
“I wasn’t going to let this dream of his fail because someone couldn’t pull through,” Ward said. “It is the chance of a lifetime, and if there … READ MORE >