Triple 7 Spotlight: Retired JTF-2 Operator Glenn Cowan

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This article is part of a new series focusing on the members of the Triple 7 team. It’s your chance to learn more about these individuals and their reasons for joining the expedition.

Let’s kick things off with a mental exercise:

Question: If a plane takes off from Santiago, Chile, carrying a 12-person team of former Special Operators to Antarctica for the first stop of a seven-continent skydiving expedition, why are there only 11 American former special operators on board?

Answer: That’s because the twelfth member of the Triple 7 team is retired Tier-1 Special Operations Officer Glenn Cowan, who’s “Proud to be the only Canadian on the expedition.”

It turns out our neighbors to the north aren’t just about hockey, poutine, and cold winters…they also produce some seriously badass Special Operators.

A graduate of McGill University and the Ivey Executive Leadership Program, Cowan is an investor, adventurer, and CEO of ONE9 Venture Capital, a company he founded in 2013 while serving as an Assaulter Officer with Canada’s elite Joint Task Force 2. During his 19 years of service, Cowan deployed to Afghanistan multiple times, participated in sensitive information operations in the Middle East, and conducted hostage recovery in Africa.

As a Squadron Commander, Cowan specialized in tactical leadership and strategic planning, skills which proved to be assets in the business world. Since its founding in 2013, ONE9 Venture Capital has experienced explosive growth and is “Canada’s only national security and critical infrastructure-based fund that looks for early-stage technologies to enhance security, infrastructure, and the military,” explains Cowan. In addition, they’re Canada’s premier defense ecosystem and the only one that uses national security end users to validate dual-use technologies, namely the special forces.

Cowan will set a new world record by completing seven skydives, on seven continents, in seven days to honor a fallen soldier and raise awareness for an issue impacting countless veterans.

The Triple 7 Expedition is working with Folds of Honor to provide the families of our fallen and/or disabled service members and first responders with the education they deserve. Along with that, each expedition team member is jumping in honor of someone.

Cowan is honoring Master Corporal Byron Greff, a Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan on October 29, 2011. The 28-year-old served with the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, and aspired to be a Special Operator. “[Byron and I] were working out in the mornings. He had submitted his application, and I was helping him prepare for selection to our special mission unit,” says Cowan. “Byron was a great guy,” he adds.

In addition, Cowan says he’s jumping to raise awareness about burn pit-related illnesses, an issue that’s impacted countless veterans over the past two decades. Burn pits are protected military sites used to dispose of chemicals, tires, munitions, plastics, and medical and human waste in open-air burns that produce large volumes of black, toxic smoke. The Department of Defense estimates that 3.5 million service members have been exposed to burn pits during deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. “I’d like to honor those who’ve suffered and continue to suffer from respiratory diseases and cancers caused by toxic exposure,” says Cowan.

Why is Cowan willing to endure the long flights back and forth between Canada and the United States to be a part of the Triple 7 Expedition?

Along with running a successful company, Cowan advises Red Light Holland, holds observer positions with Tomahawk Robotics and Strider, and sits on the board of Ventus Respiratory Technologies, a company sponsoring Triple 7. Why does someone so busy fly down from Canada to do something like this? The answer is simple: to make a difference. After two decades of Canada and the U.S. fighting alongside one another, he believes those who’ve served “should continue working together because there’s strength in numbers, and we can mobilize our networks to [help people].”

Cowan sees the expedition as an opportunity to make a difference for those who have sacrificed so much. That’s because the primary focus of Triple 7 is providing 1,400 scholarships to the families of fallen/disabled military members and first responders. The team is working with Folds of Honor to help the children and spouses of America’s heroes get the education they deserve.

For Cowan, it’s never been about breaking a world record. Instead, it’s about honoring a brave young man, raising awareness about burn pits, and making a difference in the lives of millions.

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

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