Saturday, May 29, 2004

Memorial - Tech. Sgt. John Chapman

Tech. Sgt. John Chapman was awarded the Air Force Cross posthumously on January 10, 2003.
Chapman and his team were inserted by helicopter into an area of Afghanistan on March 4 for a mission. During insertion, the helicopter came under heavy machine-gun fire and was directly hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. The grenade caused a Navy SEAL team member to fall from the aircraft.

The helicopter was severely damaged and made an emergency landing seven kilometers away from where the SEAL fell.

After landing, Chapman called in an AC-130 gunship to provide close-air support and cover the stranded team before directing the gunship to search for the missing team member.

Chapman called for, coordinated and controlled an evacuation helicopter for the team, limiting their exposure to enemy fire.

According to the award citation, Chapman volunteered to rescue the missing team member without regard for his own life. He engaged and killed two enemy personnel then continued advancing until engaging a dug-in machine gun nest.

"At this time, the rescue team came under effective enemy fire from three directions," read the citation. Chapman exchanged fire at close range with the enemy until succumbing to multiple wounds. "His engagement and destruction of the first enemy position and advancement on the second enemy position enabled his team to move to cover and break enemy contact."

The team leader credited Chapman's aggressive and selfless actions with saving the lives of the entire team.
The Air Force Cross is the second highest medal awarded to Airmen.

Here are all medals, and their ranks for each of the services. I repeat my challenge to you: As a way to remember our heroes this Memorial weekend, let's Google up some stories and post them on our blogs. Feel free to use any of these.