WASHINGTON — Drone footage released by the U.S. Air Force this week shows the final moments of Technical Sergeant John Chapman, an Air Force combat controller from Windsor Locks. On August 22nd, President Trump will present the Medal of Honor to Chapman’s family for his actions in Afghanistan in 2002.
The Medal of Honor is awarded to those who risk their lives and go above and beyond the call of duty. It is the country’s highest military honor.
The Windsor Locks native joined the Air Force in 1985. At the time of his death he was a special operations combat air controller, responsible for calling in air support for ground troops.
On March 4, 2002, he and his team were on a mission in northeastern Afghanistan when their Chinook helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade and was forced to crash land high in a valley.
The White House says Chapman “charged into enemy fire through harrowing conditions,” seized a bunker and killed its occupants. In an ensuing firefight, he was severely wounded but continued to fight until he was killed.
The Air Force released 1.5-minutes of aerial surveillance video on Thursday. A figure identified as Chapman can be seen charging toward enemy positions on the mountainside after a helicopter inserts him and six Navy SEALs to rescue a fellow soldier who had fallen from the aircraft when the team came under heavy enemy fire.
Chapman and the SEAL team leader assaulted the first of two positions. Chapman then charges a position where an enemy machine gun was firing on his team, when he is wounded.
“Despite his wounds, Chapman regains his faculties and continues to fight relentlessly,” a caption on the Air Force video says.
He’s then shown firing on enemy positions until he is shot in the chest, and the video says “Chapman is killed in action.”