The White House announced Friday that Technical Sgt. John Chapman, who lost his life in Afghanistan in 2002 and is credited with saving the lives of his fellow teammates, will be awarded the Medal of Honor by President Trump next month.
Trump will present the award posthumously to Chapman’s wife, Valerie Nessel, and his family on August 22, making him the first airman to receive a Medal of Honor for actions since the Vietnam War, the Air Force Times reported.
The Connecticut native is being recognized for his “selfless service and sacrifice” exhibited on March 4, 2002, on Takur Ghar mountain.
Chapman’s aircraft came under heavy enemy fire, eventually being struck with a rocket-propelled grenade which resulted in one of the team members being ejected, according to the White House.
Despite a crash landing, Chapman led the special operations team through hazardous and snow conditions in the mountain, behind enemy lines, in an attempt to rescue the stranded airman.
Chapman was severely wounded after engaging in enemy fire but eventually secured the opposition’s bunker.
“Despite severe wounds, he continued to fight relentlessly, sustaining a violent engagement with multiple enemy personnel before paying the ultimate sacrifice. Sergeant Chapman’s heroic actions, at the cost of his life, are credited with saving the lives of his teammates,” the White House wrote.
Chapman enlisted in the Air Force in September 1985 as an information systems operator; he later went on to become a combat controller and was hired for a special duty assignment at the 24th Special Tactics squadron.