Jumping for Gold Star Families, Triple 7 Jumpers Nail Down World Records

January 16, 2023Jenna Biter
Nine vets complete the last skydive of the Triple 7 Expedition at Skydive Australia on Jan. 16, 2023, Australian Western Standard Time. Photo courtesy of Jariko Denman.

Nine vets complete the last skydive of the Triple 7 Expedition at Skydive Australia on Jan. 16, 2023, Australian Western Standard Time. Photo courtesy of Jariko Denman.

Keep up with Coffee or Die Magazine’s complete coverage of the Triple 7 Expedition’s world-record attempt to skydive on all seven continents in seven days while raising money for Folds of Honor, a nonprofit organization supporting Gold Star families.

After just more than 150 hours of constant travel, epic skydives, and very little sleep, the Triple 7 Expedition team set two world records with its skydive just outside of Perth, Australia, on Monday, Jan. 16, local time, or Sunday, Jan. 15, EST.

When the team of nine vets hit the ground at Skydive Australia to finish its seventh and final jump, the official world record clock stopped at six days, 6 hours, and 6 minutes. With that, the vets set a tough-to-beat world record for the fastest time to skydive on all seven continents.

Triple 7 Expedition: record time

The Triple 7 Expedition's world record time. Photo courtesy of George Silva.

The team’s tandem pair — Nick Kush and passenger Jim Wigginton — also clinched the world record for the fastest time to tandem skydive on all seven continents, dramatically improving Wigginton’s former world record of about six months.

“People will make a big deal about these records and, at the end of the day, they’re utterly meaningless to me,” Andy Stumpf, a retired Navy SEAL, host of the Cleared Hot podcast, and one of the Triple 7 jumpers, told Coffee or Die Magazine soon after landing the seventh jump.

“It’s just a mechanism to get attention for what we’re actually trying to do and what this is actually about,” Stumpf said. “It’s about the people we were jumping for, the legacy they left behind, and the kids that we need to collectively and individually do everything we can to elevate in life.”

‘The Next Mission’

Since the jump in Antarctica on Jan. 9, the Triple 7 team had been hopping around the globe, attempting to set skydiving records, but not for the records’ sake.

With the expedition and its follow-up efforts — including a documentary led by Daniel Myrick of The Blair Witch Project — the members hope to raise $7 million for Folds of Honor by drawing attention and donations to the nonprofit organization.

Triple 7 Expedition: Australia

Triple 7 jumpers Jariko Denman and Matt Barker skydive in Australia on Jan. 16, 2023, Australian Western Standard Time. Photo courtesy of Jariko Denman.

With that amount, Folds of Honor could provide 1,400 scholarships, ringing up to $5,000 each, to the families of fallen and wounded veterans and first responders.

Larry Robinson, the vice president of development for Folds of Honor, told Coffee or Die that, as of Monday morning, Jan. 16, EST, the expedition had driven more than $300,000 in donations to the nonprofit organization.

“We have seen hundreds of donations come in every time they jump in a new continent,” Robinson said in a text message.

And Robinson is hopeful that a planned media blitz this week when the team returns to the US will ramp up the donations further. “The next mission will be the national media tour and then the documentary,” he said.

‘Someone Must Walk the Point’

During the slog of the breakneck expedition, the jumpers said they focused on personal stories and lost comrades that the nine combat veterans dedicated the trip to. All said, the sleepless nights crammed in the back of 16 flights for more than 80 hours was a small price to pay to raise money for Folds of Honor.

Each of the Triple 7 team members skydived in honor of a friend or teammate killed in action. Since the team’s first jump in Antarctica on Jan. 9, the Triple 7 team dedicated each skydive to one of the fallen.

Triple 7 Expedition

The Triple 7 jumpers dedicated their Australia skydive to fallen Marine Corps Scout Sniper Sgt. Matthew T. Abbate. Photos courtesy of Logan Stark. Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

Before the Australia jump, Logan Stark, a former Marine Corps Scout Sniper and one of the Triple 7 jumpers, shared a pre-jump speech, dedicating the final skydive of the expedition to 26-year-old Sgt. Matthew T. Abbate, who was killed in action on Dec. 2, 2010, in Afghanistan.

In the minutes prior to the jump, Stark told the team about Abbate’s heroics two months prior to his death, when his team was ambushed on a patrol.

Stark’s entire speech can be heard in a video sent to Coffee or Die:

Today, we are jumping in honor of Matthew T. Abbate, my close personal friend and a former Scout Sniper in the Marine Corps.

And, like a lot of the men that we jumped for throughout this trip, Matt was really the epitome of what a professional warfighter was. When he graduated Scout Sniper school, he had honor grad, high shooter, instructor choice. He was the man that we all looked up to.

When we got into Afghanistan, on a piece of Hesco barrier, he wrote the three rules of warfare. One is: Young warriors die. Two: You cannot change rule number one. And three: Someone must walk the point.

And a couple of months later, Matt was a part of a patrol that was ambushed by heavy machine gunfire. The patrol leader was injured in that. As they sought to deal with their wounded, they were hit by IEDs. Suddenly overwhelmed, Matt Abbate singlehandedly repelled the enemy, swept a minefield, and got a helicopter to the DZ to get those men out.

For his actions that day, he was awarded the Navy Cross, the second highest award a Marine can receive.

And no one was more aware of how precious life is than Matt Abbate. And as we do these things, these dangerous, fun fucking things, I don’t feel closer to Matt than I do when I do these things.

When I started skydiving, I thought of him, and I do every time I do it. So let’s continue to lead from the front, walk the fucking point, and try and touch greatness with everything that we do.

Let’s finish this fucking thing.

‘What We Were Able To Do’

And they did.

After starting with a skydive in Antarctica on Jan. 9, the team raced around the globe, jumping in Santiago, Chile, for South America and then Miami, Florida, for North America before crossing the Atlantic.

Then in the trip’s most hectic portion, the jumpers skydived in Barcelona, Spain, for Europe, and then moved to Africa for a skydive in Cairo, Egypt, landing just a few hundred yards from the pyramids.

The final two jumps came in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for Asia and Australia.

With the records in the books, jumpers are taking a long way back to Tampa, Florida, for a celebratory eighth jump on Wednesday, Jan. 18. They’re flying from Perth to Sydney, Australia, then onto Los Angeles, California, back in the United States. From there, they’ll fly to Austin, Texas, and finally Tampa.

Triple 7 Expedition: Australia

The Triple 7 team members after completing their final jump at Skydive Australia outside of Perth, on Jan. 16, 2023, Australian Western Standard Time. Photo courtesy of Jariko Denman.

“Everybody’s very tired,” Stumpf said. “So the mood is probably more muted than most people would think. I think it’ll take a few days — if not weeks — for it to kind of settle in on what we were able to do.”

The celebratory eighth jump will be dedicated to the Kabul 13, who died during the withdrawal from Afghanistan on Aug. 26, 2021.

Black Rifle Coffee Company, which owns Coffee or Die Magazine, is a sponsor of the Triple 7 Expedition.

Read Next: No Sleep ’Til Abu Dhabi: Triple 7 Skydivers Clinch First World Record

Jenna Biter
Jenna Biter

Jenna Biter is a staff writer at Coffee or Die Magazine. She has a master’s degree in national security and is a Russian language student. When she’s not writing, Jenna can be found reading classics, running, or learning new things, like the constellations in the night sky. Her husband is on active duty in the US military. Know a good story about national security or the military? Email Jenna.

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