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Friday, November 27, 2020

Columnists > Looking Back: America's Military

Snapshots Of Courage: Two Medal Of Honor Winners

Nov 12, 2020

By Capt. Richard R. Freda, (Ret.) - columnist

By: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Navy SEAL Senior Chief Petty Officer Britt Slabinski.
Prologue

This column will appear in The Democrat just two days after the official Veterans's Day. The ongoing pandemic has canceled many of the parades, speeches and other activities this holiday has represented in previous years in honor of all our veterans.
Since much has already been written and spoken of the meaning of this holiday, the rest of this column will cover the actions of just a few of our Medal of Honor winners in recent wars.
(Author's note: Much of the material below has been extracted and condensed from their actual citations).

A US Navy SEAL Hero

On March 4, 2002, Navy SEAL Senior Chief Petty Officer Britt Slabinski's helicopter was shot down over Takur Ghar mountain in Afghanistan. Through deep snow, Slabinski protected his teammates by fighting off insurgent forces, exposing himself frequently to direct enemy fire throughout.

At one point, Slabinski carried a wounded teammate to safety while calling in airstrikes for protection. Originally awarded the Navy Cross, in May 2018 President Donald Trump upgraded the award to the Medal of Honor.
Air Force Technical Sergeant John Chapman was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor over 16 years following his actions during the Battle of Robert's Ridge on March 4, 2002. After a rocket-launched grenade toppled his team's helicopter, Chapman led the effort to rescue one of his teammates who was thrown from the aircraft. He fought for over an hour through enemy gunfire, ignoring numerous injuries in the attempt to save Navy SEAL Neil Roberts.
Sergeant John Chapman was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor over 16 years following his actions during the Battle of Robert's Ridge on March 4, 2002.
Tech. Sgt. Chapman was originally awarded the Air Force Cross for his actions during the battle, becoming the first Air Combat Controller in history to earn that medal. The Battle of Robert's Ridge resulted in numerous other decorations, including 12 Silver Stars and three Air Force Crosses.
President Donald Trump upgraded his award in August, 2018, making Chapman the first member of the Air Force to earn the Medal of Honor since Vietnam.

Epilogue

The above stories have been excerpted from the recipient's actual citation. Incredibly, there have been 216 Medals of Honor winners since the start of the Gulf wars--along with hundreds of Silver Stars, Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts.
So let's not forget the thousands of veterans who have served our country with honor --and please give a “Thank you” when you meet a vet to acknowledge their duty and sacrifice.






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