Skip to comments.John Chapman Died Alone On A Mountaintop Fighting Al Qaeda. Now He’s Getting The Medal Of Honor
Posted on 04/21/2018 5:59:02 AM PDT by Twotone
It was March 4, 2002. American special operations forces were fighting to establish observation posts high above Afghanistans Shah-i-Kot Valley, as conventional troops continued their push through the valley floor below.
One of those men, Air Force Technical Sgt. John Chapman, was alone in the pitch-black, wounded and slowly regaining his consciousness in the thigh-deep snow of a 10,469-foot peak known as Takur Ghar, as scores of Al Qaeda fighters closed in.
The operators were due to lift-off from their Gardez base around midnight and quietly land near the base of the peak before climbing to the top. But maintenance delays and pressure from senior officers forced Senior Chief Petty Officer Britt Slabinski, the teams leader, to nix the safer approach, instead opting to land the x of the peak at around 3 a.m.
It would prove a gross miscalculation in retrospect.
Chapman, an Air Force combat controller, and six members of Navy SEAL Team 6 callsign Mako 30 were to helicopter-insert high above the valley so they could direct air strikes and provide intelligence for conventional troops below, who were attempting to flush out an estimated 200 to 300 lightly-armed Al Qaeda fighters, just five months after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
For his actions earlier in the battle and for his incredible bravery on that peak, according to sources familiar with the matter, Chapman will be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor later this year.
And Chappy as he was known by his teammates will be the first Air Force service-member to receive the nations highest award for valor since the Vietnam War.
(Excerpt) Read more at taskandpurpose.com ...
Announcement of new Medal of Honor to be awarded to USAF TSGT John Chapman who was killed in action March 4, 2002, while controlling air support to US forces in Afghainistan.
Condolences and congratulations to his family. America honors the sacrifice of your Airman and we will never forget his bravery and loyalty!
A well-deserved honor for an American hero.
It’s about time! I’ve been aware of his actions since he died and this is a long time coming.
As a retired Air Force SMSgt, the joke about airmen rarely facing any danger but a paper cut is often true, although we still have an obligation to fight if ordered to do so. However, our skills and positions mean we’re just not used that way, as a highly advanced and technically powerful air force needs those skills to maintain it’s edge.
Guys like TSgt Chapman and other Air Force combat controllers are really a step above!
Listen and watch this video and remember all of our fallen brothers and sisters! "Mansions of the Lord" performed by the Cadet Glee Club of West Point ( a caveat here, the title should be "the USMA Cadet Glee Club at West Point"! )
Good for TSgt Chapman and for the Air Force. The USAF took advantage of the DoD wide review of combat awards to justify the upgrade of TSgt Chapman’s award of the Air Force Cross. I think that his case met the threshold.
The nature of modern day air way and the technological superiority of the USAF translates into a dearth of traditional heroic actions among airmen. Most of combat awards to airmen have gone to those operating in a ground role and to enlisted airmen. Officers dominate the air combat role, but it is the enlisted joes carrying the fight for the Air Force based on their boots on the ground with their Special Operations, Army, and coalition partners. Chapman, not Grabeski, represents the modern Air Force combat heros.
“Gets old.... “
And very much untrue. The first and last boots on the ground are often USAF.
As a retired, prior enlisted, officer I do laugh at the "chair force" jokes, but we have some of the biggest bad-asses out there. The PJ's and CCT's have always been some of the best, if not the best, in the entire US military.
I have had several good friends who were both and they were some of the greatest war fighters I have ever met, and I have been around thousands from every branch of Service.
a great honor.
Thank you for your service doesn’t rise to the level of my gratitude for Sgt. Chapman.
Thanks for the ping. May he rest in peace.
Another 25 months in Iraq, and I encountered several more of these impromptu acknowledgements of honor by brothers in arms, to a precious life sacrificed on the battlefield.
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