Tech. Sergeant John Chapman To Be Awarded The Medal Of Honor


Rest In Peace
Oct 19, 2006
President Donald Trump will posthumously award the Medal of Honor to the family of a fallen U.S. Air Force Special Tactics Combat Controller at a ceremony on Aug. 22 for his extraordinary heroism in March 2002 while deployed to Afghanistan.

According to the medal nomination, Tech. Sergeant John Chapman distinguished himself on the battlefield through “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity,” sacrificing his life to preserve those of his teammates. Chapman was part of a joint special operations reconnaissance team deployed to Afghanistan in 2002 that came under overwhelming enemy fire during a heroic rescue attempt on Takur Ghar mountain, Afghanistan, March 4, 2002.

During the initial insertion onto Afghanistan’s Takur Ghar mountaintop, the MH-47 “Chinook” helicopter carrying Chapman and the joint special operations reconnaissance team flew into an enemy ambush. Intense enemy small arms and rocket propelledgrenade fire significantly damaged the helicopter, throwing Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Neil Roberts into the “hornet’s nest” of enemies below. Following a controlled crash landing a few miles away, the remaining team members elected to fly back to the enemy-infested mountaintop in a heroic attempt to rescue Roberts.

During the rescue attempt, Chapman and his teammates once again received heavy enemy fire from multiple directions. Chapman, despite the enemy fire, charged uphill through thigh-deep snow to directly assault an enemy position. He took the enemy bunker, cleared the position, and killed the enemy fighters occupying the position.

Then, with complete disregard for his own life, Chapman deliberately moved from the bunker’s protective cover to attack a second hostile bunker with an emplaced machine gun firing on the rescue team.

During this bold attack, he was struck and temporarily incapacitated by enemy fire.

Despite his wounds, Chapman regained his faculties and continued to fight relentlessly, sustaining a violent engagement with multiple enemy fighters before paying the ultimate sacrifice. In performance of these remarkably heroic actions, he is credited with saving the lives of his teammates.

“Tech. Sgt. John Chapman fought tenaciously for his nation and his teammates on that hill in Afghanistan,” said Air Force Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein. “His inspiring story is one of selfless service, courage, perseverance, and honor as he fought side by side with his fellow Soldiers and Sailors against a determined and dug-in enemy. Tech. Sgt. Chapman represents all that is good, all that is right, and all that is best in our American Airmen.”

“Tech. Sgt. John Chapman earned America’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor, for the actions he performed to save fellow Americans on a mountain in Afghanistan more than 16 years ago,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. “He will forever be an example of what it means to be one of America’s best and bravest Airmen.”

Godspeed Warrior.


I think we've already discussed the Chapman-Slabinski MOH controversy in another thread. Let's not spread the debate around the board.
Watched it at work. Most presidential I’ve seen POTUS act. Have to say that it was classy for Slab to show up, regardless of any controversy. Recognized a couple of the names of the SGM’s who were young guys in the QRF. All around a great ceremony for a great man. Here’s to you Technical Sergeant Chapman.
Watched it at work. Most presidential I’ve seen POTUS act. Have to say that it was classy for Slab to show up, regardless of any controversy. Recognized a couple of the names of the SGM’s who were young guys in the QRF. All around a great ceremony for a great man. Here’s to you Technical Sergeant Chapman.

Same. Great job by all.

ETA- The pres did call the top ranked enlisted guy in the AF ‘Kathleen’, but his name is Kaleth, so I can’t really fault him too much.
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Slab was there with him, also has an MoH... assume you do what you want at that level.
This. And, despite all the shade being thrown in his direction, they were team mates and friends...

EXCLUSIVE Interview With Britt Slabinski, Medal Of Honor Recipient
For his part, Slabinski has always praised Chapman for saving the lives of his team. “John died saving us from the enemy fire, which was effective from three sides when he was killed,” Slabinski said in a witness statement for Chapman’s posthumous Air Force Cross medal, which Newsweek obtained. “John deserves the highest medal we can get for him.”

Britt Slabinski and John Chapman had been tent mates in Afghanistan, and they kept a running game of chess going in their quarters that they never managed to complete in a hectic war zone. Soon the two friends may have more in common than an unfinished game of chess.

“Not a day goes by when I don’t think about John,” Slabinski told Breaking Defense. When asked what he thought on hearing that Chapman may have survived and fought for another hour alone on the top of Takur Gar, Slabinski pauses before answering. “Well, there’s was no doubt in my mind that he was dead. No doubt in my mind,” he said. “But my first thought [on hearing of that possibility] was that it would be completely in John’s character to have done that. That was his DNA. That was my whole team’s DNA. It’s not what I saw. Not what I experienced. But it was within John Chapman’s character to have done those things.”
I apologize in advance because this might be a long reply. I was a freshman in high school when 9/11 happened and months later I remember reading about Robert's Ridge in the news paper during a study hall. I remember being confused that so many Americans could have lost their lives on that mountain. I was just an ignorant kid at the time but also a curious one.

A year later my dad had mentioned that TSgt Chapman and SrA Cunningham had been awarded the Air Force Cross. I read the citations and it dawned on me that they had been in the battle that confused me so much earlier. TSgt Chapman's story stuck with me and was along with my father the reason I joined the Air Force. Intially I wanted to be a Combat Controller like TSgt Chapman and began training and preparing for it. Unfortunately I never attempted the pipeline because of medical reasons. It was hard enough the get a slot as just a normal Air Traffic Controller. I regret not pushing more and trying get into the pipeline but I still ended up with a great 11 years and an amazing career post AF life.

TSgt Chapman's story motivated me through Basic Military Training as a trainee in the 326th TRS. As luck would have it their building was the Chapman Training Complex. I read all the usually books that contained information on him and that fateful battle. The more I read that more it didn't make sense that this hero wasn't awarded the Medal of Honor. Fast forward a few years and I'm in Airman Leadership School. I'm last in the order to tell the instructors what we are doing our Air Force Heritage speech on. I remember thinking please don't have someone say TSgt Chapman and luckily but sadly after 13 people ahead of me said what they would give their speach on I got my first choice. I busted my ass on that speech and afterwards my instructor privately told me it was his favorite speech from a student in his 3 years as an instructor.

Eventually as I progressed with my career and more Airman were awarded the Air Force Cross. More and more of the Air Force started asking the question of why not TSgt Chapman for the Medal of Honor? Finally all these years later this Hero finally was recognized properly for his actions on that cold snowy mountaintop. I watched trying to hold back tears President Trump award his beautiful family that medal. Afterwards my four year old asked me "why are you crying daddy?" I then as best I could explained to her why a 31 year old man was crying. She couldn't quite understand but I'll make sure she grows up learnings of the deeds of great men and women like the now MSgt John Chapman.
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