on about your day, ask yourself: How likely is it that the story you just read would have been produced by a different news outlet if The Intercept hadn’t done it? “Our sense of what’s right and what’s wrong is warped. Uncompromising integrity is my standard. Coordinating fire with an AC-130 gunship, Chapmans role in providing cover for the moving team was instrumental to their survival. We can’t have you here.”, As I reported in 2017, one of Slabinski’s former superiors said: “To this day, he thinks the guys turned on him. He could have stayed safe within its hardened walls, which provided plenty of cover. But it has renewed questions over what exactly happened. […]Chapman burst into the first bunker, killed the two enemies there in close-quarters combat and seized it. Under heavy fire, the SEALs moved back to a ridgeline and continued firing until they were pushed down the mountaintop, the special tactics officer said. Unfortunately and unbeknownst to them, Roberts had already been killed about an hour before they returned. Sen. David Perdue Led Dollar Tree’s Outsourcing Effort Into China, Number of Women Alleging Misconduct by ICE Gynecologist Nearly Triples, Congressional Progressives Are Revamping Their Caucus With an Eye Toward 2021. My word is my bond. John A. Chapman (July 14, 1965 – March 4, 2002) was a Combat Controller in the United States Air Force who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on August 22, 2018 for his actions in the Battle of Takur Ghar during the War in Afghanistan. The operator force and the two QRF teams of Rangers had their own ordeal in getting to the battlefield (which is another story in itself). According to a Navy officer, the SEALs made several efforts to block an upgrade for Chapman, infuriating the Air Force. Britt Slabinski will receive the award for actions in 2002, but the status of a Medal of Honor case for a U.S. airman who served with him is unclear. Slabinski and his team, including John Chapman, rushed out amid small arms fire from the Al Qaeda militants. When his body was recovered, he had emptied 6 30-round magazines. By March of 2002, the American invasion of Afghanistan to root out the Taliban was well underway. The Georgia Republican’s campaign rhetoric around China contrasts sharply with his business record. At the time, it was the Soviets who were fighting it out on the mountain tops of Afghanistan where both men would soon earn their hallowed place in military history. By the military’s own standard, Slabinski should have been disqualified from the Medal of Honor for his actions in subsequent deployments to Afghanistan. Interestingly, the Soviet Union was fighting in the mountains of Afghanistan during the 1980’s. That’s when Chapman was first wounded. On March 3, 2002, a small SEAL Team 6 reconnaissance team led by Slabinski landed atop Takur Ghar, a 10,000-foot peak above the Shah-i-Kot valley in eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. The airman's mother believes everything on the ridge that night went as Chapman would have wanted – his teammates escaping the line of fire to fight another day, even if it cost him his own life. That investigation, too, resulted in the SEALs being cleared. While they expected resistance to be fierce, what greeted the SEALs at the point of insertion was withering enemy fire from an entrenched and numerically superior enemy. They trudged through thigh-deep snow, wearing night vision goggles, in the “bottom of a fishbowl, surrounded on three sides by enemy with overwatching positions that are shooting down with machine guns, RPGs, heavy fire.”. Already barred from serving at SEAL Team 6, Slabinski was now physically banished. The Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces proved tenacious, and the terrain of Afghanistan offered refuge and tactical advantages which the technologically superior coalition had to … In the early days of the Global War on Terrorism, gallant men descended upon the mountains of Afghanistan to root out the Taliban from their strongholds. One of the SEALs on his team, Petty Officer 1st Class Neil Roberts, was thrown from the back into the snow below before the helicopter crash-landed about five miles away. The Intercept is an independent nonprofit news outlet. Believing Chapman had succumbed to his wounds, the team decided to withdraw due to the heavy enemy fire. When asked why he would bring in Slabinski after he was thrown out of SEAL Team 6 for alleged war crimes, a SEAL Team 6 leader told me that Szymanski told his fellow SEALs that their community could not shun a war hero. He can be seen fighting with multiple enemy combatants, even dispatching one during hand to hand combat. In the video above, you can see one of the disembarking troops split off from the main group. The mission was part of the U.S. military’s Operation Anaconda, a multi-day effort to squeeze out and kill the last large group of Al Qaeda militants and Taliban fighters hiding in the valley. Without delay, he headed straight for the elite Navy SEALs graduating with BUD/S class 164. The special tactics officer said that when Chapman opened fire on the al Qaida fighters on the ridge, he forced them to put their heads down and suppressed their RPG fire as the Chinook approached. In the late evening of March 3, two SEAL teams from DEVGRU, MAKO 30 & MAKO 21, were to arrive in Gardez for immediate insertion into the Shahi-Kot Valley. What everyone learns from this is that cover-ups work — don’t say anything bad about your teammates, keep quiet and we’ll get through it.