Scaling Mount Kilimanjaro is an impressive feat for anyone, but for Staff Sgt. Mark Zambon, it was an even greater accomplishment. The 27-year-old Marine recently reached the summit of Africa's tallest mountain, less than two years after he lost both his legs due to an improvised explosive device (IED) blast during deployment, Military Times reports.
Zambon worked as an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technician in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and he was certainly familiar with the danger that comes along with the job. After surviving several explosions relatively unscathed, he had both his legs amputated above the knee after stepping on an IED in 2011.
The journey back to a healthy, active lifestyle was a long one, and his training for the climb included intense sessions of yoga, swimming and hiking. However, just 18 months after the explosion, Zambon made it to the top of Kilimanjaro at a similar pace to someone with both their legs. He brought the dog tags of two fallen soldiers with him to pay tribute their service.
"It was such a great thing to be able to repay in a small way and to remember them for their sacrifice at the top of that mountain," Zambon told the publication.
Zambon made the climb as part of The Heroes Project, which reaches out to injured vets, using climbs and other other activities to raise awareness and improve the care of wounded soldiers.