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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The three American veterans from three different wars had only one good leg among them. But that didn’t stop them from summiting Africa’s highest mountain.
The three soldiers — veterans of Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam — scrambled, clawed and plodded to the top of Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro, hiking up the mountain’s scree-filled paths on one human leg and five prosthetics.
They skidded. They fell. They removed their legs to adjust their shoes. And after six days of climbing they stood at 19,340 feet (5,895 meters) — Africa’s highest point.
“The message we’re trying to send back to the USA is no matter what disability you have you can be active,” said Kirk Bauer, the executive director of Disabled Sports USA and a 62-year-old Vietnam veteran who lost his leg in 1969. .
The youngest, 26-year-old Neil Duncan, lost both legs to a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in 2005. The group took six days to ascend, instead of four, and a special permit for the disabled allowed them to spend the night in tents at 19,000 feet. Last Saturday morning they made it to the top.
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