Triple 7 Leap Group honors America's fallen heroes

This article is part of the Men's Journal Everyday Warrior series, which includes advice, key interviews, and tips for living a life of consistent impact, growth, and learning.

With the launch of the Triple 7 Expedition now being measured in days instead of weeks or months, it's a great time to introduce you to the jump team. In addition to meeting these former Special Operators, you'll also learn about the fallen heroes they honor; extraordinary Americans who lost their lives during the global war on terror.

In honor of their sacrifice, the team at Triple 7 is partnering with Folds of Honor to award 1,400 grants to the children and spouses of America's fallen.

"Everyone on this team feels fortunate to have served alongside truly amazing men and women, some of whom have not come home," said Mike Sarraille, a retired Navy SEAL and co-founder of Triple 7. "When people stop, sharing their stories, their legacy is beginning to fade, and we cannot allow that.”

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Each team member dedicates a leg of this record-breaking expedition to a fallen hero. After today you will know four of the stories of these brave Americans. Next week we'll wrap up this two-part Men's Journal series by telling you about the remaining five.

Close-up of US Navy veteran Logan StarkImage courtesy

Logan Stark

Logan Stark joined the United States Marine Corps shortly after high school. After boot camp, he trained as an infantry assault trooper and later served three deployments, including one to Afghanistan with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. Stark was a scout sniper, an elite group of Marines known for the psychological and physical toll they inflict on the enemy.

Logan Stark with his arms crossedImage courtesy

After his last deployment in Afghanistan's Helmand province, Stark left the Marine Corps in 2011 and enrolled at Michigan State University. His experiences in Afghanistan left such a deep impression on him that he made a short film about the mission. Although it was only a school project, it resulted in articles in USA Today and a New York Times blog series. Today, Stark is the vice president of media for the veteran-run Black Rifle Coffee Company.

When the team jumps to Australia, they will honor the US Navy Sergeant Matthew Thomas Abbate. Born and raised in Fresno, California, Abbate enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduating high school in 2006. He was a scout sniper stationed at Camp Pendleton with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment - an infantry expeditionary force nicknamed the Dark Horse.

In December 2010, during Abbate's third deployment, he was mortally wounded in a coalition airstrike and an enemy attack in Helmand province, Afghanistan. A Marine who served alongside him said: "Some guys have the heart but they don't have the ability. [Others] have the ability but not the heart. [Sgt. Abbate] was the whole package, and he was humble.”

Two months before his death, Sgt. Abbate displayed exceptional bravery and courage during an ambush in which several Marines were wounded. For his actions, he was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, the second highest medal for bravery in combat.

His other awards and honors include a Purple Heart with Gold Star, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon with Gold Star, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with Bronze Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and NATO-ISAF Medal.

Close-up of military veteran Nick KushImage courtesy

Nick Kusch

You may have heard of special operators called silent professionals. In the case of retired US Navy Ordnance Disposal Technician Nick Kush, the title is appropriate. In 2016, after 20 years in the special operations community, including multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Kush retired from the Navy.

Nick Kush is sitting on a chairImage courtesy

After retiring, he spent almost two years training special operators in advanced parachuting. Kush has approximately 8,200 jumps, owns Deland High-Performance LLC and is a research and development specialist in performance designs. His awards and honors include two Bronze Star Medals with Valor, two Iraq Campaign Medals, one Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and two Combat Action Ribbons.

If the team jumps to Spain, they will do so in honor Aviation Ordnanceman Petty Officer Second Class Marc Alan Lee, the first Navy SEAL to lose his life in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was hit by enemy fire during an hour-long gun battle with insurgents on August 2, 2006 in Ramadi, Iraq. During the exchange of blows, AO2 Lee protected several teammates by unleashing a barrage of machine gun fire that pushed the enemy back and gave his team time to find cover.

In his last letter, Lee told his family that his service in Iraq made him appreciate the United States even more. "[Being in Iraq] makes me realize what a great country we have," he wrote. AO2 Lee posthumously received the Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal with Valor and Purple Heart; His other awards and honors include the Combat Action Ribbon, Meritorious Unit Commendation, and the National Defense Service Medal.

Close-up of US military veteran Jariko DenmanImage courtesy

Jariko Denmann

Jariko Denman was born into a military family and spent much of his childhood traveling the world. In 1997 he continued the family tradition by enlisting in the US Army. After completing basic combat training and attending jump school at Fort Benning, Denman passed the evaluation and selection process for the 75th Ranger Regiment. During his career, he held various leadership roles, including weapons commander, rifle platoon sergeant, senior sergeant, and senior sergeant.

Logan Stark and Jariko Denman sit next to each other.

Logan Stark and Jariko Denman Image courtesy

In 2017, after four years as a senior military science teacher at St. John's University, Denman retired from active duty. Since retirement, he has been a consultant on major film productions, national advertising campaigns and television shows. Denman is the senior media production manager for Black Rifle Coffee Company and a co-writer for Coffee or Die.

If the team jumps to Chile, they will honor each other Sergeant First Class David L. McDowell, an Army Ranger who served with the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. In April 2008, during its seventh combat mission, SFC. McDowell was involved in a firefight against Taliban forces in Afghanistan's Helmand province when he sustained fatal injuries.

A husband and father of two, McDowell's awards and honors include the Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device, the Army Commendation Medal with an Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Achievement Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, three Army Good Conduct Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, three NCO Professional Development Ribbons, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge and the Ranger Tabs.

He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal with Device for Valor, and the Meritorious Service Medal. As a ranger, SFC. McDowell was determined to defend those who fought at his side. He considered it an honor "to uphold the standing, honor and high esprit de corps of the Rangers."

US military veteran Andy Stumpf in a suit.Image courtesy

Andy Stump

Even though Andy Stumpf knew he wanted to be a US Navy SEAL, he had a problem: He was 11 years old. For many children, that dream would have been fleeting, only to be replaced a few days later by the desire to become a race car driver or an astronaut. t stump. This all-consuming goal drove him for the next five years; then, during his junior year of high school, he enlisted in the Navy.

After completing Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training, Stumpf embarked on a 17-year career becoming the first E-6 commissioned under the Navy's Limited Duty Officer Program. By the time he retired in 2013, Stumpf had performed hundreds of combat missions and earned five Bronze Star Medals (four with bravery), the Purple Heart, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corp Commendation Medal with bravery, three Navy and Marine Corp Achievements Medals, two Combat Action Ribbons and the Presidential Unit Citation.

Stumpf, a sponsored skydiver and BASE jumper, set two world records in 2015 to raise $1 million for the Navy SEAL Foundation. The first record was for jumps from 36,500 feet and the second for flying more than 18 miles in a wingsuit. He is the host of the popular Cleared Hot podcast with Andy Stumpf, a co-founder of the Legacy Expedition and one of the two retired Navy SEALS responsible for making Triple 7 a reality.

Row of US flags planted in the grass.Image courtesy

They will honor each other during the team's Africa Leap Senior boss David Lee Hall, a US Navy SEAL who died on October 12, 2020. Hall joined the Navy shortly out of high school and is one of the youngest to graduate with a BUD/S degree. During his military career, he served as a SEAL Qualification Training Instructor, spent five years with a Special Mission Unit, and was deployed to the Middle East several times. After the Navy, he was a defense industry consultant specializing in counterinsurgency operations.

Help the Triple 7 Expedition team provide 1,400 scholarships to the families of American heroes by donating today. Make your tax-deductible gift online or by texting Triple7 at 76278. Remember, 100% of your donation goes directly to Folds of Honor.

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