Navy SEAL Master Chief Britt Slabinski to receive the Medal of Honor

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Navy SEAL Master Chief Britt Slabinski to receive the Medal of Honor

A few weeks ago I wrote about Air Force combat controller Tech. Sgt. John Chapman who reports said would have his Air Force Cross upgraded to the Medal of Honor. Now the White House is announcing that the SEAL in charge of the insertion in that same operation,Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Britt K. Slabinski, U.S. Navy, Retired, will receive the Medal as well:

As a Team Leader assigned to a Joint Task Force, in the early morning hours of 4 March 2002, then-Senior Chief Slabinski led a reconnaissance team to its assigned observation area on a snow covered, 10,000-foot mountaintop in support of a major coalition offensive against Al-Qaida forces in the valley below.  Rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fired from enemy fighters hidden and entrenched in the tree lines and rocks riddled the team’s insertion helicopter.  One teammate was ejected from the aircraft, and the crippled helicopter crash landed on the valley floor below.  Then-Senior Chief Slabinski boldly rallied his remaining team and organized supporting assets for a daring assault back to the mountain peak in an attempt to rescue their stranded teammate.  Later, after a second enemy-opposed insertion, then-Senior Chief Slabinski led his six-man joint team up a snow-covered hill, in a frontal assault against two bunkers under withering enemy fire from three directions.  He repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire as he engaged in a pitched, close-quarters firefight against the tenacious and more heavily armed enemy forces.  Proximity made air support impossible, and after several teammates became casualties, the situation became untenable.

Senior Chief Slabinski maneuvered his team to a more defensible position, directed air strikes in very close proximity to his team’s position, and requested reinforcements. As daylight approached, the accurate enemy mortar fire forced the team further down the sheer mountainside. Carrying a seriously wounded teammate down a sheer cliff face, he led an arduous trek across one kilometer of precipitous terrain, through waist-deep snow while continuing to call fire on the enemy who was engaging the team from the surrounding ridges.  During the subsequent 14 hours, he stabilized casualties on his team and continued the fight against the enemy until the mountaintop was secured by the quick reaction force and his team was extracted.

Slabonski was originally awarded the Navy Cross, and presumably the citation will be almost exactly the same:

For extraordinary heroism as Sniper Element Leader for a joint special operations unit conducting combat operations against enemy forces during Operation Anaconda, Sahi-Kot Valley, Afghanistan on 3 and 4 March 2002, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. On the evening of 3 March, Senior Chief Petty Officer Britt Slabinski led his seven-man reconnaissance team onto the snow-covered, 10,000 foot mountaintop known as Takur Ghar, to establish a combat overwatch position in support of U.S. Army forces advancing against the enemy on the valley floor. As their helicopter hovered over the mountain it was met by unrelenting rocket propelled grenade (RPG) and small arms fire by entrenched enemy forces. As a result of several RPG hits, a member of Senior Chief Petty Officer Slabinski ‘s team was ejected from the helicopter into the midst of the fortified enemy positions. The badly damaged helicopter conducted a controlled crash, at which time Senior Chief Petty Officer Slabinski immediately took charge and established security on the crash location until the crew and his team were recovered to a support base. At this point, Senior Chief Slabinski fully aware of the overwhelming, fixed, enemy forces over the mountain, but also knowing the desperate situation of his missing teammate, now reportedly fighting for his life, without hesitation made the selfless decision to lead his team on an immediate, bold rescue mission. He heroically led the remainder of his SEAL element back onto the snow-covered, remote, mountaintop into the midst of the numerically superior enemy forces in a daring and valiant attempt to rescue one of their own. After a treacherous helicopter insertion onto the mountaintop, Senior Chief Petty Officer Slabinski led his close quarter firefight. He skillfully maneuvered his team and bravely engaged multiple enemy positions, personally clearing one bunker and killing several enemy within. His unit became caught in a withering crossfire from other bunkers and the closing enemy forces. Despite mounting casualties, Senior Chief Petty Officer Slabinski maintained his composure and continued to engage the enemy until his position became untenable. Faced with no choice but a tactical withdrawal, he coolly directed fire from airborne assets to cover his team. He then led an arduous movement through the mountainous terrain, constantly under fire, covering over one kilometer in waist-deep snow, while carrying a seriously wounded teammate. Arriving at a defensible position, he organized his team’s security posture and stabilized his casualties. For over fourteen hours, Senior Chief Petty Officer Slabinski directed the defense of his position through countless engagements, personally engaging the enemy and directing close air support onto the enemy positions until the enemy was ultimately defeated. During this entire sustained engagement, Senior Chief Petty Officer Slabinski exhibited classic grace under fire in steadfastly leading the intrepid rescue operation, saving the lives of his wounded men and setting the conditions for the ultimate vanquishing of the enemy and the seizing of Takur Ghar. By his heroic display of decisive and tenacious leadership, unyielding courage in the face of constant enemy fire, and utmost devotion to duty, Senior Chief Petty Officer Slabinski reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

If you missed the video the first go-around, this lays out the battle of Roberts Ridge (as it would come to be known) fairly well:

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Thank you, Thank you, Master Chief Slabinski. And thank you to the author of this very revealing and moving article. Medal of Honor Recipients usually go unknown and unrecognized to the general public. It is so refreshing and encouraging to know of such heroes (and their heroism). America needs to know MORE to appreciate more. Freedom is not and never will be FREE!

I was truly absorbed in the Battle of Takur Ghar video. I was drawn to the video by the announcement of the award of the Medal of Honor to Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Britt Slabinski (Congratulations to you Chief & your team). I expect many who have served will without question consider the SEALS & Rangers on Takur Ghar that day to have upheld every service value expected of them.

Those who don’t are missing something. Fog is a local weather condition, however it it is increasingly clear that the term “Fog of War” spans from the tactical fight to the strategic decision making in real time. Regardless of this real time tactical to strategic connectivity, the tactical fighter always deals with different fog then that of higher echelons not on the ground.

They who served on the ground will always carry losses & successes of the day in a different way. I pray that God’s love is with the fallen & has reached the survivors. May he protect & guide us all in however we serve; past, present, and future.


Bravery, & valor to all these soldiers. Gods speed to all those defending freedom, against evil murderers. Air Force medic,.. Vietnam era..

All give some, some give all. Nothings changed in my 72 years. Go army!. Rangers Lead the way!

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.