Marine Corps Veteran Charlie Linville overcame stepping on an IED to become the first combat-wounded Veteran to summit Mount Everest.

Charlie Linville was born in Boise, Idaho, in August 1985. In 2004, Linville graduated from Boise High School and, two years later, achieved his long-time goal by enlisting in the Marine Corps. Linville attended boot camp in San Diego, California, in January 2006, and in May 2006. Attached to the 3rd Battalion 5th Marines as section leader, he deployed to Fallujah, Iraq, from September 2007 to April 2008.

Linville took a liking to explosives and switched his MOS from 0351 Infantry Assault to 2336 Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician (EODT). After completing intensive training in 2010, Linville transferred to the 9th ESB 3rd EOD Company at Camp Hansen in Okinawa, Japan.

Linville’s life forever changed after deploying to Afghanistan. On Jan. 20, 2011, while conducting a routine sweep, Linville stepped on a legacy Improvised Explosive Device (IED), which had been active underground for years. IEDs have a low metallic signature that are untraceable by metal detectors. Upon impact, Linville was knocked unconscious, thrown in the air and landed on the ground. After he regained consciousness, he realized that he had lost his right ring finger and had sustained severe damage to other parts of his body, including multiple broken bones in his right foot.

Linville knew the injuries would change him, but he felt lucky to be alive. The IED could have caused loss of limbs, such as both lower legs or part of his right arm. He was medically discharged from the Marine Corps at the rank of sergeant, then decided to undergo a below-the-knee amputation in 2013.

Linville believes the choice to amputate saved his life, as it alleviated his depression and saved him from further complicated surgeries and physical therapy sessions. Better yet, he gained a sense of renewed purpose – shortly after his amputation, he was recruited by The Heroes Project to climb Mount Everest.

When Linville finally reached the summit of Mount Everest on May 19, 2016, the feat made him the first combat-wounded Veteran to reach the top of Mount Everest.

We honor his service.


Writer: Kelly Dooley

Editor: Micayla Costa

Fact Checker: Vivian Hurney, Swheta Rao

Graphics: Michelle Zischke

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Published on Oct. 15, 2020

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