Trump to award Medal of Honor to late air force sergeant
Trump will award posthumously the honor of John Chapman, an air force sergeant credited with saving the lives of service-members on a mountain in Afghanistan in 2002; Chapman’s sister responds on ‘Fox & Friends.’
The us Air Force on Thursday released an aerial video that shows highlights of Tech Sgt. John Chapman’s exploits during the hand-to-hand combat in an Afghanistan peak before he was killed by Al-Qaida fighters.
Chapman, 36, a resident of Windsor Locks, Conn., can be seen on March 4, 2002, charging the enemy on Takur Ghar, a 10,000 feet high mountain, Task, And Goal reported. Chapman joined the Navy SEALs in an effort to recover a wounded comrade who had fallen out of the plane after he was hit with a rocket-propelled grenade.
Chapman “brought in an enemy fire by distressing circumstances”, seized from a bunker and killed its occupants, the White House said.
The air force, said he was beaten and temporarily incapacited by enemy fire as he moved from a protective cover to engage the enemy.
Britt K. Slabinski, a retired member of SEAL Team 6, who received the Medal of Honor in May for his heroics during the same 14 hour battle, believed Chapman was dead, and moved the team-including someone with a severe leg injury — from the battlefield, the New York Times reported.
Chapman regained consciousness and fought for an hour after being shot down, but managed to two kill more enemies, reports said.
Slabinski, who completed 15 combat tours, told the New York Times, in 2016, that he’s “95 percent certain” that Chapman was murdered, and was skeptical about the video, the accuracy and analysis. He told officers that Chapman’s actions helped save his team that day.
Slabinski retirement from the Navy in 2014 after more than 25 years of service. He said after the ceremony that the medal “belongs to so many others,” and the name of the team “who followed me without hesitation.” Slabinski said that the medal also belongs to the seven Americans who died on the mountain.
“They gave all for us. This honor is really for them. They are the true heroes,” he said in a statement delivered at the White House on the driveway.
But Deborah Lee James, who served under President Obama as Air Force secretary, said Slabinski deserves his gold medal and his contributions should not be underestimated.
“No one thinks that he did anything other than his absolute best on the worst day of his life,” said James Slabinski, according to the Washington Post. “He thought he was dead, and he was responsible for four or five others that he was trying to save.”
President Trump will award the Medal of Honor posthumously to Chapman’s family on Aug. 22 — 16 years after he died. He will be the first pilot to receive the award since the Vietnam War.
James had recommended Chapman for the award, but she said: “it has come to a standstill.
“I believe that the Seals want to honor John Chapman,” James told the newspaper. “What some people don’t like is that they do not want that it is linked to him getting up and fighting back.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Edmund Initiative is a news editor for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @EDeMarche.