HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. — President Trump offered the Medal of Honor, the army’s highest award for valor, to the widow ofWednesday. He gave his life defending fellow troops in one of many ugliest battles of the conflict in Afghanistan.
Al Qaeda fighters have been ready for Chapman and a crew of Navy SEALs after they got here off a helicopter.
“The enemy was in mainly overhead positions round them on three sides, raining down hearth in three instructions,” mentioned Lt. Col. Michael Wendelken, who spent two and a half years analyzing each body of surveillance video of the 2002 battle in Afghanistan.
Video exhibits Chapman operating up a mountain, straight at a bunker the place an enemy machine gun was firing. It is exhausting to grasp why he wasn’t minimize down, and tougher nonetheless to grasp the place he obtained the braveness.
“There have been two enemy contained in the bunker. He killed them each as they have been taking pictures at him,” Wendelken mentioned.
“Mainly we watched what my plane commander described as ‘a firefight in a cellphone sales space,'” mentioned Sgt. Robert Harrison.
On the time, Harrison was in a gunship circling overhead making an attempt to blast al Qaeda off the mountain. The video is tough to comply with, so the Air Power commissioned an animation, which Wendelken says is correct right down to the precise location of Chapman’s wounds.
Chapman jumped out of the relative security of the bunker to fireside at one other machine gun 10 meters away.
“He was hit after which went down … and was possible rendered unconscious at that time,” Wendelken mentioned.
The remainder of the crew was positive Chapman was lifeless and pulled off the ridge to attend for reinforcements.
“A couple of minutes later, he awoke and continued to struggle for an additional hour and 10 minutes,” Wendelken mentioned.
Chapman was on his personal, preventing for his life towards the enemy at level clean vary. A helicopter was bringing in reinforcements and he tried to offer overlaying hearth.
“Inside 30 seconds of that helicopter touchdown, realizing that he was simply 10 meters from a machine gun, he put his again to that machine gun to have interaction an enemy that was making an attempt to shoot down the helicopter,” Wendelken mentioned.
That’s when he was shot twice within the again and killed. The reinforcements made it in however not in time to avoid wasting Chapman.
“It is fairly clear he sacrificed his life to be sure that they’d an opportunity to land and rescue the remainder of the crew,” Wendelken mentioned.
If ever a person went down preventing for his nation, it was John Chapman.
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