News>Sherpa scales Mount Everest with Global Strike flag
Chhiring Dorje Sherpa and his wife Dawa, in addition to Tom Whittaker, tour the interior of a B-52H Stratofortress Bomber during a visit to Barksdale Air Force Base, La. June 27. Sherpa and Whittaker visited the base to present a special U.S. flag to Air Force Global Strike Command during a ceremony. Sherpa had personally carried the flag to the summit of Mount Everest in honor of the Global Strike Command Airmen (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph A. Pagán Jr.).
Chhiring Dorje Sherpa and his wife Dawa, in addition to Tom Whittaker, visit with Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen during a visit here June 27 (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph A. Pagán Jr.).
Commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, Lt. Gen. Jim Kowalski, holds the special U.S.-Air Force Global Strike Command flag, along with Chhiring Dorje Sherpa and Tom Whittaker. Sherpa had personally carried the flag to the summit of Mount Everest in honor of the Global Strike Command Airmen and presented it to the command in a special ceremony here June 27 (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph A. Pagán Jr.).
Chhiring Dorje Sherpa and his wife Dawa, stand alongside Tom Whittaker and Commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, Lt. Gen. Jim Kowalski, following the ceremony here, June 27. During the ceremony, Sherpa presented a special U.S.-Air Force Global Strike Command flag to the command. Sherpa had personally carried the flag to the summit of Mount Everest in honor of Global Strike Command Airmen (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph A. Pagán Jr.).
by Kate Blais
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs
7/2/2012 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. (AFNS) -- With a static B-52 in the background and more than 100 Global Strike Airmen looking on, Chhiring Dorje Sherpa of Nepal, presented a new piece of Air Force Global Strike heritage, June 27, which he'd carried to the top of the world and back.
On May 19, Sherpa climbed Mount Everest, the highest point on the planet, where he unfolded a U.S. and command flag that had been stitched together. He also placed an American300 coin on the summit, which had passed through the hands of thousands of Global Strike Airmen. Although the coin stayed, Sherpa brought the flag back down.
"He climbed Mount Everest for the 12th time about six to seven weeks ago," said Tom Whittaker, the first amputee to summit Mount Everest. "Think about where you were six or seven weeks ago, because this guy was on the summit of Mount Everest."
Whittaker put the feat of summiting Mount Everest into perspective for the crowd.
Only about one in 30 people who attempt to climb the mountain actually succeed, he said.
"This man has been to the same altitude that this plane cruises [30,000 feet], 12 times," said Whittaker pointing at Sherpa and then at the B-52. "This man took your coin, with DNA from your brothers and sisters, to the summit of Mount Everest because he believes in you."
The event is the latest initiative in the command's American300 "Never Quit" series aimed at promoting resiliency in Airmen. Throughout the series, Global Strike Airmen have been introduced to former servicemembers, athletes and other guest speakers who have endured and overcome immense challenges, including those of Sherpa and Tom Whittaker.
"People crave stories," said Lt. Gen. Jim Kowalski, commander, Air Force Global Strike Command, in his remarks during the event. "Stories teach us, stories inform us and stories inspire us ... at the heart of NEVER QUIT is the idea of taking stories from all walks of life out to our Airmen to keep them inspired in the tough duty that they have to do," said Kowalski.
"Mental toughness is what Global Strike Command needs to continue to perform this mission at the high standards we all demand," added Kowalski.
In addition to presenting the flag, Sherpa offered his ice axe and a stone he brought back from the summit. The stone will be ground up and made into coins by American300 for future visits to Global Strike Command bases. The flag and ice axe will have a residence in the AFGSC headquarters building.
The remarks of the speakers hit home for some of the Airmen in the audience.
"America's been through struggles ... Airmen have been through struggles too and we've all made it to the top," said Senior Airman Jamie Walden, aviation resource manager, 2nd Operations Support Squadron.
"The flag kind of resembles the same push that we've had to go through," said Walden.
"I never really researched climbing Mount Everest, but seeing the limitations and the will of someone's own strength shows me that I can reach the goals that I thought might not be accomplishable, but they are, they're very feasible," said Senior Airman Courtney Johns, air traffic controller, 2nd Operations Support Squadron.
"Seeing other men and women achieve such high goals and accomplishments without receiving the praise of others and doing it for their own self accomplishment and to represent something greater definitely empowers me to do something great," said Johns.