John Magness ’86, Donald Fallin ’88, and James Brennan ’88 successfully summited Mount Kilimanjaro in the early hours of January 15, 2021. The trio—known as “Team Johnny Mac”—undertook the expedition in conjunction with a crowdfunding effort to raise awareness and funds for the nonprofit Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund.
Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, is one of the “Seven Summits” and the 4th highest in the world. It is Africa’s tallest peak, and the world’s highest single free-standing mountain. The summit, named Uhuru Peak, is 19,341 feet above sea level.
The three Old Grads traveled from various locations across the globe to Arusha, Tanzania where they met on January 8. After getting acquainted with their guide and making final packing and gear checks, they stepped off on January 10 on the 8-day Lemosho route to the summit. Five days later—one day ahead of their schedule—they reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and posed for photos at the famous Uhuru Peak sign.
Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund is inspired by Colonel John “Johnny Mac” McHugh ’86 who was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan on May 18, 2010. Members of the Class of ’86 started the nonprofit in 2014 to honor military service and sacrifice by providing scholarships for military children of our nation’s fallen or combat disabled. The organization continues to be led and guided by ’86 classmates and has awarded over $20 million in scholarships and education programs since its 2014 founding.
Colonel (Retired) Don Fallin, the lead planner for the challenge, acknowledged supporters, including his West Point ’88 classmates, shortly before embarking on the Kilimanjaro trek. “You can’t do anything by yourself; we have a great team behind us and we’re very fortunate to represent a great organization.”
Congratulations, Team Johnny Mac! Well done.