Kirstie Ennis

The Veterans Project

Meet Kirstie Ennis

May 22, 2019 - 9:45 am

The daughter of two Marines, USMC Retired Sgt. Kirstie Ennis said that joining the Marine Corps was her destiny, and even her barbies “wore dress blues”. 

After high school, she enlisted and made her first deployment to Afghanistan as an aviation airframes mechanic. She would eventually train to become a helo door gunner and deploy a second time with HMH 362, ironically a unit nicknamed “The Ugly Angels”.  (Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron) 

In June 2012 when the CH-53D helicopter that she was flying in went down in ­Afghanistan’s Helmand province. She suffered severe trauma, especially to her brain, spine, neck, shoulder, face and left leg, which after some 40 surgeries was amputated below the knee three years later. A month after that, it was amputated above the knee.

During her long rehabilitation, she would discover snowboarding and eventually become a top-ranked snowboarder and earn a USA Snowboard and Freeski Association national title. 

Now, She’s taking her passion for ­mountaineering to new heights, ­climbing the “Seven Summits” — the highest peak on each continent. She’s already topped Kilimanjaro in Africa, the Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia and Argentina’s Aconcagua. 

Kirstie's other passion is helping fellow veterans through her organization Kirstie Ennis Foundation which financially supports deserving organizations.