By Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public AffairsJuly 19, 2018
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (July 19, 2018) -- Sgt. 1st Class Jacob Carlson recently returned to Fort Drum after completing weeks of intense training in the stifling heat at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, Louisiana. Like many of his colleagues, he is looking forward to some well-deserved time off this summer, but Carlson's downtime is going to take him upward -- to the summit of Mount Adams in Washington.
Carlson, assigned to A Company, 41st Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI), is preparing to "climb for a cause." On Aug. 1-2, Carlson will travel to Mount Adams in Washington for his first ascent to support the Thousand Islands Area chapter of Habitat for Humanity.
"This is just something I've always wanted to do, a goal I've had for a while now," he said. "It's going to be a good climb -- not as technical as some, like Mount Rainier -- but we expect some challenges along the way."
The South Climb of Mount Adams does not require much technical expertise, and many people attempt to complete the rough and rocky route over two days. It's roughly a 12 miles trek roundtrip, and Carlson said that the starting elevation is nearly 5,500 feet and he calculated a 6,740 feet climb.
Carlson, a combat engineer platoon sergeant, said that he received mountain elevation training at Fort Carson, Colorado, with the 101st Airborne Division, and also had similar training in Alaska.
"You learn how to pace yourself going up extreme terrain," he said. "Then you just take it in stride and enjoy the moment."
Carlson's goal is to raise a dollar for every foot he climbs, and the proceeds will go to the Thousand Islands Area chapter of Habitat for Humanity. He said that he was drawn to Habitat for Humanity because he likes to work with his hands and he enjoyed the experience of helping others have a home.
"I first got involved while stationed at Fort Campbell (Kentucky)," he said. "My unit asked for volunteers and I had never heard of Habitat for Humanity before. We went down to Nashville (Tennessee) and started building houses there, and it just seemed like a good way to help so many people around us."
Carlson has contributed to six different Habitat for Humanity projects, and he has also volunteered before at an animal shelter and food pantry. This is the first time he has attempted a fundraising endeavor.
"I've swung hammers before and I've done a lot of work that way for Habitat for Humanity," he said. "But they also need material to build with and sometimes that's harder to come by without some fundraising."
Carlson will be accompanied by his platoon leader and fellow Washington state native, 1st Lt. Jacob Wilson, who is also from Washington state, and Wilson's father.
"I spent a lot of years growing up in the outdoors with the family, and I did search-and-rescue in high school for the county," Wilson said. "Every summer I'd go backpacking with my brother and dad at least a few times."
Wilson can also draw from some of his military experience -- such as the mountain phase of Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia; the D-Series Winter Mountain Challenge at Fort Drum in January and the Best Sapper Competition in April at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
Wilson said that he was at an Army function when he asked Carlson about his summer leave plans. He said that they were both heading in the same direction, so Wilson accepted the invitation to "Climb for a Cause."
"It's a good cause and it will go toward something that will benefit others, so we just plan on accomplishing the mission," Wilson said.
To learn more about the local Habitat for Humanity chapter and the charity climb, visit www.tiahabitat.org.