John Chapman


chapman, johnThe President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Technical Sergeant John A. Chapman, United States Air Force, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. Technical Sergeant Chapman distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism as an Air Force Special Tactics Combat Controller of the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, attached to a Navy Sea, Air, and Land (SEAL) Team conducting reconnaissance operations in Takur Ghar, Afghanistan, on 4 March 2002. During insertion, the team’s helicopter was ambushed causing a teammate to fall into an entrenched group of enemy combatants below. Sergeant Chapman and the team voluntarily reinserted onto the snow-capped mountain, into the heart of a known enemy stronghold to rescue one of their own. Without regard for his own safety, Sergeant Chapman immediately engaged, moving in the direction of the closest enemy position despite coming under heavy fire from multiple directions. He fearlessly charged an enemy bunker, up a steep incline in thigh-deep snow and into hostile fire, directly engaging the enemy. Upon reaching the bunker, Sergeant Chapman assaulted and cleared the position, killing all enemy occupants. With complete disregard for his own life, Sergeant Chapman deliberately moved from cover only 12 meters from the enemy, and exposed himself once again to attack a second bunker, from which an emplaced machine gun was firing on his team. During this assault from an exposed position directly in the line of intense fire, Sergeant Chapman was struck and injured by enemy fire. Despite severe, mortal wounds, he continued to fight relentlessly, sustaining a violent engagement with multiple enemy personnel before making the ultimate sacrifice. By his heroic actions and extraordinary valor, sacrificing his life for the lives of his teammates, Technical Sergeant Chapman upheld the highest traditions of military service and reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.


John Chapman, a combat controller assigned to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, posthumously received the military's highest award, an upgrade of his Air Force Cross, for his actions on March 4, 2002. He is the first U.S. airman to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War and the 19th since the Air Force was established in 1947. On August 22, 2018, President Donald Trump posthumously bestowed Air Force Tech Sgt. John Chapman with the Medal of Honor in a ceremony at the White House, in the words of Air Force Chief General Dave Goldfein, it marked "the beginning of a year-long celebration of this incredible warrior who requires us all to be better airmen."


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