Tech. Sgt. John Chapman to be awarded Medal of Honor

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Tech. Sgt. John Chapman to be awarded Medal of Honor

We've been waiting for this one for a while now, and at long last it is becoming official:

Tech. Sgt. John Chapman, the combat controller who was killed during the fierce Battle of Roberts Ridge in Afghanistan in 2002, will be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, according to a report in Task and Purpose.

Chapman would be the first airman to receive a Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor, for actions since the Vietnam War.

Chapman originally received an Air Force Cross, the second-highest valor award an airman can receive, for his heroism during the March 4, 2002, battle against al Qaida fighters.

But newly-enhanced video from a Predator drone showed more evidence that Chapman was not dead, but instead unconscious, when a team of Navy SEALs withdrew from the battle under withering fire.

The video analysis suggested Chapman regained consciousness and resumed fighting al Qaida members approaching on three sides. Chapman is believed to have crawled into a bunker, shot and killed an enemy fighter charging at him, and killed another enemy fighter in hand-to-hand combat.

Like I noted, this one has been in the pipeline for quite a while, and is sort of tied to that of SEAL Britt Slabinski.  At the time some were upset that Chapman's heroics were being overlooked. For his part, Slabinski had nothing but strong and positive words on Chapman:

In making the case for this award, the Air Force relied heavily on witness statements from three of the surviving members of Mako 30, who all described him in heroic terms. Slabinski, in particular, credited Chapman with saving their lives. “I know if John hadn’t engaged the first enemy position, it would have surely killed us all before we reached cover,” Slabinski said in his statement, which Newsweek obtained. “John Died [sic] saving us from the enemy fire which was effective from three sides when he was killed.... John deserves the highest medal we can get for him.”

You can read about the controversy at the above link there, but no one seems to be disputing that he deserves the award.

Here's a pretty good nutshell report from Fox News:

Either way, it is much deserved.



As a bit of a housekeeping note, one of our Legionnaires, and my best friend whose work I've cited to many times in the past, Jonn Lilyea, went to Post Everlasting this week.  I'm headed out there tomorrow to help his family with some things so I may not be posting the rest of this week.

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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.