Air Force Tech. Sgt. John A. Chapman will be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Chapman, a combat controller, will be the 19th Airman awarded the Medal of Honor since the Department of the Air Force was established in 1947

photo courtesy Secretary of Air Force

Trump to award Medal of Honor to Airman amid controversy

July 27, 2018 - 5:22 pm
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Air Force Tech. Sgt. John A. Chapman, a combat controller who was killed during a fierce battle in Takur Ghar, Afghanistan in 2002, will be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on August 22, 2018, the White House announced today.

Chapman will be the first airman to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.

Chapman was embedded with a Navy SEAL Team when their helicopter came under heavy fire in a mountain range. One teammate was hit and ejected from the chopper, and the severely damaged helicopter landed in the valley.  Sgt. Chapman and his special ops teammates traversed the snow-capped mountain to retrieve their injured member.  Sgt. Chapman is credited with charging through enemy fire and seizing a bunker but he was seriously wounded.  The firefight has come to be known as the Battle of Roberts Ridge.  

His fellow special operators thought he was dead and left without him. New enhanced drone footage has shown evidence that Chapman was instead unconscious when his teammates evacuated their position, a revelation first reported by The New York Times.  The footage shows Chapman eventually fighting on long after the team left.  

The Medal of Honor - the highest and most prestigious military award - comes a few months after retired Navy Master Chief Britt Slabinski also received the medal for the same firefight.  Slabinski was the teammate who crawled to check on the injured Chapman but says he didn't detect a pulse and believed him to be dead.  That's when the team retreated, leaving Chapman behind.

White House

 

Hear SOFREP founder and Army Ranger veteran, Jack Murphy discuss this story on VetStory podcast