On June 20, 2019, Leonidas International sponsored four determined disabled Armed Services Veterans in a Denali summit attempt. At 20,320’ Denali is the highest mountain in North America. These men span decades in ages, represent multiple Branches of Service and a litany of injuries sustained. What ties them together is a willingness to sacrifice for their brothers and sisters in arms and a steadfast determination not to allow their disabilities to define who they are.

 The Denali climb is a monumental undertaking for the healthiest individuals. Climbers can expect extreme temperature swings, gale force winds with whiteout conditions, avalanches, and deep snow drifts.  Accomplishing this feat will demonstrate others recovering from injuries what is achievable in life.

This team, dubbed “Denali – Second Assault” is comprised of members of two separate previous teams that attempted Denali summits with Warfighter Sports in 2012 and 2017. Both teams were turned around for weather conditions around 15,500 feet after spending weeks on the mountain. These men do not leave goals unmet and are passionate about reaching the summit and demonstrating what one can achieve with determination and discipline.

One of the 2017 climbers, a current team member, learned about Warfighter Sports from press surrounding the 2012 event. At 45 years old, he reported achieving the highest fitness and lowest pain level since sustaining injuries in 2000 as a direct result of training for and attempting this climb. Two other current team members are bilateral below-knee amputees that made the attempt in 2012.

Unfortunately, the team again met unfavorable weather conditions that forced everyone on the mountain to descend. Had the team successfully reached the top, they would have been the third and fourth bilateral amputees to reach the summit. They will return!

Your contribution to Denali – Second Assault supported a critical rehabilitation event for these climbers and demonstrated to countless others what it means to not let their injuries define their lives. Thank you!

Planned Itinerary – West Buttress Route



Facts about Denali

•It’s tall – at 20,320 feet, it’s the highest point in North America and one of the Seven Summits

•It’s cold – one of the coldest mountains on earth with temperatures reaching as low as 40 F below zero

•It’s windy – wind speeds on the upper mountain can reach over 150mph

•It has obstacles – glaciers, separated by razor edge ridges and massive granite rock can present challenges

The Team


Army Cpl. Steve Martin (Ret.) served in the Army and Army National Guard for 8 years including an assignment in Korea. Hit by an IED while on operations as a State Department contractor, with Joint US Forces Provincial Mentoring Team in  Afghanistan. Martin lost both legs below the knees as a result of his injuries. After his amputations, he completed the Bataan Memorial Death March in 2011, a 26 mile march in White Sands, NM. Steve golfs, bikes, swims and runs and has competed in triathlons.


USMC Cpl. Timothy Sosa served in the Marine Corps for four years. Deployed twice to Ar-Ramadi, Iraq from 05-06, 06-07. Honorably discharged in 2008, while home for the first year was hit by a DUI driver that resulted in an above knee amputation on the spot. Needed to be air evacuated to the nearest hospital, three major surgeries, sixteen blood transfusions, and was in a medically induced coma for seven days. Was in the accident a week before Thanksgiving and recovered quick enough to be home before Christmas. Taught himself to walk in four hours and learned to run in three minutes, he always strives to perform to the best of his ability’s no matter what the situation may be. Tim enjoys the great outdoors from kayaking, hiking, and camping. Tim is the co-founder and owner of Blackbeard’s Brew LLC E-liquid line based out of Peoria Arizona, where he and his fiance Amanda also reside.


USMC Staff Sergeant Paul Kitchin served in the Marines for seven years and sustained multiple injuries while on active duty, including exposure to a dangerous chemical compound stateside in 1997 when a halon fire suppression system discharged during an amphibious vehicle rollover at sea resulting in permanent lung damage, damage to his vertebrae when an armored hatch lock failed and slammed on his head during maneuvers, and damage to his right knee and femur from a fall during training in the jungles of Okinawa eventually resulting in the necessity of a custom casted brace for walking after five separate surgeries. He was medically separated from service in 2002. In addition to his 2017 Denali summit attempt, Paul has summited Mount Shasta once and Mount Whitney multiple times and calls mountaineering his passion. For Paul, mountaineering is the absolute best way he has found to attack his physical limitations head on and maintain his warrior spirit. Climbing Mt. McKinley (Denali) has been a long time goal on his bucket list. Paul is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of a Defense consulting firm based in San Diego, CA. He and his wife, Rachel, live in Jamul, CA.

Matt Melancon – While serving in Afghanistan in 2011, Army Sergeant Melancon’s vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device causing severe injuries to both of his legs and his lungs. After attempting limb salvage, Melancon had his first leg amputated below the knee in 2013 and his second leg amputated a year later. Melancon has received numerous military awards for his service, including the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and the Purple Heart. Today, Melancon is an avid snowboarder and retail manager at Black Rifle Coffee Company.

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