President Trump will posthumously award the Medal of Honor to the family of TSgt. John Chapman, shown here in theater. Air Force photo.
TSgt. John Chapman, an Air Force special tactics combat
controller killed in Afghanistan in the 2002 Battle of Takur Ghar, will posthumously receive the Medal of Honor, the Air Force announced late Friday.
President Trump will award the medal to Chapman's family Aug. 22. He will be the first airman to receive the award since the Vietnam War. The Air Force has been the only service to not have a Medal of Honor recipient in the Global War on Terror.
As previously reported,
the White House has been considering upgrading Chapman’s Air Force Cross; Chapman
will become the 19th airman awarded the Medal of Honor since the Air Force was established in 1947.
During insertion into the Takur
Ghar mountaintop, the Chinook helicopter carrying Chapman and his joint special
operations reconnaissance team flew into an ambush which significantly damaged
the helicopter, throwing Navy
Petty Officer 1st Class Neil Roberts into the enemy “hornet’s nest” below, according to the Air Force. After a controlled crash landing, the remaining team members decided to try to rescue
that attempt, Chapman’s team again came under heavy fire, but Chapman charged
up the hill through deep snow to assault an enemy position, taking the bunker,
clearing the position and killing enemy forces in the position. He then,
according to the announcement, “with complete disregard for his own life,” attacked
a second bunker from which a machine gun was firing on the rescue team. At that
point, the Air Force said, he was struck and temporarily incapacitated.
nevertheless regained his faculties and kept fighting, sustaining a violent
engagement with multiple enemy forces, before losing his life.
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,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said in a statement.
will forever be an example of what it means to be one of America’s best and
John Chapman fought tenaciously for his nation and his teammates on that hill
in Afghanistan,” Air Force Chief of Staff General David Goldfein said in a statement.
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. TSgt. Chapman represents all that is good, all
that is right, and all that is best in our American airmen."
is a reflection of our commitment to recognizing the heroic actions of our
airmen,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright in a statement.
Chapman’s story reminds us, we have a sacred duty to honor the actions and
sacrifices of all our service members. I share our airmen’s deepest gratitude
to the Chapman family, as well as the family members of all those who gave
their lives serving our great nation.”
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