Staff Sgt. Nicholas Gibson has spent most of his life in Florida, one of the flattest states in the nation with its highest natural point reaching 345 feet — the lowest high point of any state in the U.S. While he loves the sunshine state and calls it home, Gibson has always had a desire to reach higher ground.
Now a pararescueman with the 308th Rescue Squadron, part of the 920th Rescue wing at Patrick Air Force Base, Gibson’s former idea of something “different” has become almost ordinary for him. As a pararescueman, it is part of Gibson’s job to be skilled at mountain climbing, plus SCUBA diving, skydiving, and providing life-saving paramedic aid in any environment.
Gibson has always been someone who sets high standards and goals for himself. His next goal is the highest of them all — 20,035 feet high to be exact. Gibson will be using his mountaineering and medical skills to climb Mt. Everest with a team of airmen from various bases across the nation. The team, which consists of five active duty Air Force officers and Gibson, will attempt to summit the world’s highest peak as part of the U.S. Air Force Seven Summits Challenge.
“The vision of our Challenge is for U.S. Air Force members to carry the American and USAF flags to the highest point on each continent, ending atop the highest point on Earth. In doing so, we will be the first team of active duty American military members to reach the summit of Mt. Everest and the first team of military service members from any nation to reach all of the famed seven summits,” according to the USAF Seven Summits Challenge website.
Gibson has not participated in any of the previous climbs on each continent — the highest summit he has reached is approximately 14,500 feet.
Gibson, who is currently attending a master’s program to become a physician assistant, is the team’s first and only reservist and enlisted member, the oldest Airman in the group and only member with formal, high-level mountain medical training.
“I feel comfortable in the mountains, and I feel good with my technical rescue work.”
Because of his medical background, he will serve as the team medic for the trip.
Get a full update about their trip here.