Report: Airman Killed in 2002 Battle in Afghanistan Receives Medal of Honor

Air Force Tech. Sgt. John Chapman to be first airman since the Vietnam War to receive the Medal of Honor, according to a new report. (U.S. Air Force)
U.S. Air Force

An Air Force airman killed in Afghanistan during an exchange of fire between U.S. special ops forces and al-Qaeda fighters in 2002 will receive the Medal of Honor, according to a report.

Tech. Sgt. John Chapman, the radioman in charge of the SEAL Team 6 reconnaissance unit was engaged in the March 4, 2002, conflict, the veteran news site, Task & Purpose, reported.

Chapman, a native of Windsor Locks, Connecticut, had been left to die as he and others in his group battled against the terror group.

But the Air Force took a second look at the video, which an overhead drone captured, and the military’s analysis of the footage suggested Chapman had merely been unconscious, according to a New York Times report from 2016.

The video revealed that when Chapman came to his senses, he continued fighting and killed two enemy combatants until enemy forces killed him.

The Air Force Times reported that Chapman initially received an Air Force Cross, the second-highest honor for valor an airman may receive for his actions in the 2002 battle against the al-Qaeda extremists.

The Air Force submitted its recommendation that Chapman receive the Medal of Honor in 2016.

In March, Chapman’s family was notified that he would, indeed, receive the Medal of Honor.

A source told Task & Purpose it takes a few weeks between the time the family is notified of the honor and the recognition ceremony in Washington, DC.

Air Commando Association Vice President Wayne Norrad told Air Force Magazine Saturday that the White House is considering a recommendation from Defense Secretary James Mattis that Chapman be awarded the Medal of Honor as an upgrade in recognition of his service.

“Our fingers are crossed,” Norrad told the outlet.


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