In May, 1st Lt. Elyse Ping Medvigy, 2nd Lt. Harold Earls and retired Staff Sgt. Sergeant Chad Jukes (left to right) will attempt to summit Mount Everest as part of U.S. Expeditions and Explorations to raise awareness for veterans struggling with PTSD and suicide. Capt. Matt Hickey (far right), who participated in a team-building practice climb with them on Mount Rainier in Washington in August, is the CEO of USX and will provide ground support.
USX was co-founded by Earls and Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Burnett. Burnett became a mentor to Earls during his time at West Point, when he was on the Army baseball team.
Jukes, a combat-wounded veteran and single-leg amputee, uses a customized prosthetic leg when climbing and biking. His previous mountaineering and ice climbing experience includes frozen Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride, Colorado. He ascended Mount Lobuche, one of the highest peaks in the Himalayas, in 2010 with other veterans through the nonprofit No Barriers USA, which was detailed in the 2012 documentary "High Ground."
Medvigy has been backpacking since birth and enjoys high-altitude climbing between deployments. She has served as a field artillery officer and served as the first female fire support officer in the Army to deploy with a light infantry unit in Afghanistan. When she returns from Everest, Medvigy will begin as a civil affairs officer with the Captain's Career Force.
First Lt. Connor Love is an active-duty Army officer who serves on the ground support team as CFO for USX. During his time at West Point, Love worked with veteran nonprofit organizations.
Medvigy, USX base camp manager Tommy Ferguson, documentary filmmaker Dave Ohlson, Earls and Jukes began acclimatizing in Nepal in April and hope to reach the top of Mount Everest by Memorial Day weekend.