TSgt John “Chappy” Chapman

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John A. Chapman was born on July 14, 1965 in Massachusetts but spent most of his young life in Connecticut, graduating from Windsor Locks High School in 1983. At the age of 20, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, as an Information Systems Operator. He later volunteered to be a Combat Controller, where he was tasked to solve air and ground problems in different conflict and crisis situations.

He had assignments stationed in Colorado, North Carolina, and Okinawa where he became an expert in reconnaissance operations, air traffic control, and terminal attack control operations. In addition to his mental agility, he has had also mastered the physical demands of combat as an experienced static line and military free fall jumper, combat diver, and earned jumpmaster and dive supervisor qualifications.

He was then selected for a special duty assignment with the 24th Special Tactics Squadron. As a team leader, he worked with personnel training them for their roles as special tactics operators, prepared them to conduct precision strike, personnel recovery, and special operations missions around the world. While deployed, Sergeant Chapman directed close air support aircraft, delivering destructive ordnance on enemy targets in non-permissive environments.

On March 4, 2002, Sergeant John A. Chapman was in Afghanistan as part of Operation Anaconda. Sergeant Chapman’s helicopter was hit with heavy fire from al Qaeda, one member of the team, Neil Roberts, fell from the back of the aircraft, and the helicopter ended up crash landing in a valley below the Takur Ghar mountain. Sergeant Chapman and the rest of the special operations team, including fellow Medal of Honor recipient Britt Slabinksi, volunteered to return to the enemy filled, snowy mountaintop in an attempt to rescue their fallen teammate.

Sergeant Chapman charged into the enemy forces seizing their bunker and killing the forces inside. He then moved from the bunker, completely revealing himself, to engage an enemy machinegun firing at his team. It was at this point he was severely injured, presumed dead, and his teammates evacuated the mountaintop. Chapman regained consciousness and continued to fight, engaging with multiple enemy forces before making the ultimate sacrifice.

“Tech. Sgt. John Chapman earned America’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor, for the actions he performed to save fellow Americans on a mountain in Afghanistan more than 16 years ago,” Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said in a statement. “He will forever be an example of what it means to be one of America’s best and bravest Airmen.”

On August 9, 2018, the Air Force released overhead footage of the final moments of Tech Sgt. John Chapman’s heroic life. This is the first Medal of Honor to be awarded using surveillance footage rather than eye witness accounts.

“Chappy” as his teammates called him, was always a team oriented and humble man. Chappy’s commander at the time of his final actions had this to say

“John was always selfless – it didn’t just emerge on Takur Ghar – he had always been selfless and highly competent, and thank God for all those qualities,” said retired Air Force Col. Ken Rodriguez, Chapman’s commander at the time. “He could have hunkered down in the bunker and waited for the (Quick Reaction Force) and (Combat Search and Rescue) team to come in, but he assessed the situation and selflessly gave his life for them.”

Technical Sgt. John Chapman [was] posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in a ceremony at the White House on August 22, 2018. President Donald Trump [presented] the Medal to Chapman’s wife, Valerie Nessel, and their families commemorated his life and his actions that were above and beyond the call of duty.

John Chapman’s story and spirit will live on in the lives of his family, friends and teammates. His wife, Valerie has said, “[John] would want to recognize the other men that lost their lives. Even though he did something he was awarded the Medal of Honor for, he would not want the other guys to be forgotten – that they were part of the team together. I think he would say that his Medal of Honor was not just for him, but for all of the guys who were lost.”

We honor you, John Chapman.

(#Submission by: Miah Parry. #Repost @MOH Museum)

SGT Kyle Jerome White

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Sgt. Kyle Jerome White joined the Army in 2006, from Washington State. He attended basic training, advanced individual training, and U.S. Army Airborne School consecutively, at Fort Benning, Ga., before being assigned to the 2-503rd, at Camp Ederle, Italy, from 2006 to 2008. While assigned to the 2-503rd, White deployed to Aranas, Afghanistan, in spring 2007, where he served as a platoon radio telephone operator. He was assigned to the 4th Ranger Training Battalion, at Fort Benning, from 2008 to 2010. White departed the active-duty Army in May 2011.

His civilian education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he majored in finance. He currently resides in Charlotte, where he is an investment analyst with the Royal Bank of Canada.

His military education includes the Combat Life Saver Course, U.S. Army Airborne School, U.S. Army Air Assault School, the Infantryman Course (One-Station Unit Training), the Primary Leadership Development Course, and the Reconnaissance and Surveillance Leaders Course.

White’s awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster and “V” device, the Army Achievement Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one campaign star, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon with numeral 2 device, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Parachutists Badge, the Air Assault Badge, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Valorous Unit Award.

His Medal of Honor citation reads as following:

“Specialist Kyle J. White distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a radio telephone operator with Company C, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade during combat operations against an armed enemy in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on 9 November 2007. On that day, Specialist White and his comrades were returning to Bella Outpost from a shura with Aranas village elders. As the soldiers traversed a narrow path surrounded by mountainous, rocky terrain, they were ambushed by enemy forces from elevated positions. Pinned against a steep mountain face, Specialist White and his fellow soldiers were completely exposed to enemy fire. Specialist White returned fire and was briefly knocked unconscious when a rocket-propelled grenade impacted near him. When he regained consciousness, another round impacted near him, embedding small pieces of shrapnel in his face. Shaking off his wounds, Specialist White noticed one of his comrades lying wounded nearby. Without hesitation, Specialist White exposed himself to enemy fire in order to reach the soldier and provide medical aid. After applying a tourniquet, Specialist White moved to an injured Marine, providing aid and comfort until the Marine succumbed to his wounds. Specialist White then returned to the soldier and discovered that he had been wounded again. Applying his own belt as an additional tourniquet, Specialist White was able to stem the flow of blood and save the soldier’s life. Noticing that his and the other soldiers’ radios were inoperative, Specialist White exposed himself to enemy fire yet again in order to secure a radio from a deceased comrade. He then provided information and updates to friendly forces, allowing precision airstrikes to stifle the enemy’s attack and ultimately permitting medical evacuation aircraft to rescue him, his fellow soldiers, Marines, and Afghan army soldiers. Specialist Kyle J. White. Extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Company C, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, and the United States Army.”

In reflection of the event, he shared his thoughts in the moment: “It’s just a matter of time before I’m dead. I figured, if that’s going to happen, I might as well help someone while I can.”

We honor you, Kyle White.

(#Repost @Army.mil)

SGT Charlie Linville

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As an explosive ordnance disposal technician, Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Charlie Linville would defuse as many as 40 bombs on a typical day on duty in Afghanistan. In January 2011, he and his team were conducting a routine sweep when Sgt. Linville was struck by a device and he was blasted into the air. He was immediately evacuated and then treated in several hospitals, ending up at Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego. His wife, Mandi (his high-school sweetheart), and their two daughters, Taylor and Dylan, moved there to be with him as he underwent a dozen surgeries.

Despite all of their intervention, doctors realized that they would need to remove the Marine’s foot, a decision that Sgt. Linville and his family accepted with grace and a sense of humor. One day, Taylor and her mother were at Party City, waiting for the store to open. When a woman asked Taylor, “What are you celebrating?” Taylor, then 4, explained that her father was having his foot amputated and they were having a “going away-foot” party.

Sgt. Linville has since mastered walking with a prosthetic foot, and he plans to climb Mt. Everest as part of the Heroes Project in the spring 2015. Here, he poses with his younger daughter, Dylan.

We honor you, Charlie Linville.

(#Repost @https://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/veterans-stories-returning-home/)

GySgt Eric Olson

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I was born in Vancouver, Washington on January 6, 1980. I went to Goldendale H.S. in Goldendale, Washington. I earned a diploma from Goldendale H.S. in 1998. During high school I worked with my uncle performing general construction contracting.

My mother is Cindy Olson and Father is Phillip Olson.  They both reside in Centerville, Washington.  I have two younger brothers, Matthew and Wade.  My wife, Brandi Olson, along with my daughters, Emma and Sophia have recently relocated back to Goldendale, WA for my medical retirement.

I enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in June 1997 and reported to 6th ESB Category P platoon to begin fulfilling my contract.  I reported to MCRD San Diego in June 1998. Upon graduation in September 1998, I returned to 6th ESB. I reported to Basic Combat Engineer School in June 1999 as a LCpl and MCT in June 2001 as a Corporal. While at 6th ESB I deployed to Okinawa, Japan as part of a UDP, Alaska, and Belize.  I also performed more than 6 months of ADSW to assist in Color Guard and Burial details.

In August of 2001 I applied for and was accepted to the Active Reserve Program and reported to VMFA-112 at Joint Reserve Naval Air Station Fort Worth, Texas in January 2002.  Upon reporting, I immediately went to Powerplant and Fuel System A-School in Pensacola, Florida and F-18 C-School in El Centro, California.  I also obtained the 5811 (Military Police) MOS as well as Marksmanship Coach MOS while stationed with VMFA-112.  Also while stationed at VMFA-112 I graduated from Columbia College of Missouri with an Associate in Arts and a Baccalaureate Degree in interdisciplinary Studies.  While stationed with VMFA-112 I deployed to Miramar twice, Eglin AFB, Elmendorf AFB, Norway, Hawaii twice, and completed 1 WestPac.  I was promoted to Sergeant in April 2004.  I then received orders to EOD School in Eglin AFB, Florida in June 2006 and graduated as the Honor Graduate in April 2007.

After graduation from NAVSCHOLEOD I served as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technician at 9th Engineer Support Battalion.  I was promoted to Staff Sergeant in August 2008.  While at 9th ESB, my deployments include KITP 07(South Korea), Balikitan 08(Phillipines), OIF 08-2 as a Team Leader, and a Far East float as a Team Leader with 31st MEU Force Reconnaissance Platoon. I attended Silver Flag, SNCO Academy Career Course, Dynamic Entry, Dynamic Assault, completed the Joint Services Senior SNCO PME, and Dynamics of International Terrorism.  I detached from 9th ESB EOD Company in May 2010 and reported to 7th ESB, 1st EOD Company in June 2010.

Upon reporting to 1st EOD Company I began pre-deployment training for OEF and deployed to Afghanistan in September 2010.  I was assigned to the Kajaki battle space near the Kajaki Dam.  While at Kajaki I lost my team member to an IED on November 19 while performing a search.  On January 3, 2011 I functioned a pressure switch resulting in a low order detonation and ended my Afghanistan deployment.  Since that time I have held a variety of billets to include Training Chief, Operations Chief, and EOD Chief.  I underwent foot reconstruction surgery in April 2012.  In April 2013 it was determined that I am unfit for continued active service and was given a medical retirement date of 29 September, 2013.

My immediate plans are to find a job with either the County or State for a year or two.  During this time I intend to work on my gunsmithing and receive my Federal Firearms License.  My five year plan includes opening a retail gun shop, as well as a shooting complex including distance and clay shooting, leaning heavily toward sponsoring youth marksmanship programs.

We honor you, Eric Olson.
(#Repost @Halo Warrior Foundation)

SGT Christopher Higginbotham

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Christopher was born on January 24, 1990, the son of Jeanette Higginbotham. Christopher was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army where he served two tours in Afghanistan. Throughout his military career, he was a recipient of the following awards: 3 Army Commendation Medals, 2 Army Achievement Medals, 2 Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, 2 Afghanistan Campaign Medals with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Medal, NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge, and an Air Assault Badge. He currently served with the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

He passed away on Saturday, April 25, 2015 in Colorado Springs, at 25 years old.

We honor you, Christopher Higginbotham.

(#Repost @Clarksville Now)

CPT Stephen Wolf

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Stephen Wolf was born in Fort Hood, Texas, on October 11, 1985. His father was a platoon leader on the base, and later a banker, and his mother was a nurse. Wolf was the middle child of the family and a self-proclaimed “Army brat.” He attended West Windsor Plainsboro High School and was active in wrestling, lacrosse and the row team. After graduating from high school in 2003, Wolf attended Bucknell University, joined the ROTC, and was the vice president of his class for one year. He graduated in 2007.

Wolf decided to join the Army based on his personal experiences during the September 11 attacks—his father was working in New York City at the time of the attack, and Todd Beamer, a passenger on Flight 93, lived a mile away from Wolf. He was also influenced by his ROTC instructors to join the service. He decided to become a scout for the Armored Cavalry. Wolf received his officers training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and was assigned to the 1st Platoon of Tanks at Camp Casey in South Korea. At Camp Casey, he was a Tank Commander, and then made the rank of Gunnery Sergeant. Wolf was then assigned to the 361st Cavalry at Fort Carson, Colorado.

Wolf was deployed to Afghanistan on May 26, 2009. As a junior lieutenant, he became a platoon leader for a Recon Unit in Fall 2009. He patrolled the Kunar River Valley, engaged in skirmishes with the Taliban, and worked closely with the Afghan National Security Forces. When his tour was finished, Wolf went to Airborne School at Fort Rucker, Alabama. He was then deployed to Iraq in the last four months of the (2003) Iraq War in 2011. He was assigned to the 3rd Brigade 1st cavalry and stationed at Tahfal Mountain as an advisor to the Brigade Commander.

He left the Army in 2011 and attended Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University to earn an MBA in business. Wolf is a member of the Kellogg Veteran Association and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

We honor you, Stephen Wolf.

(#Repost @Pritzker Military Museum & Library)

MSG Jonathan J. Dunbar

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A special operations soldier assigned to Fort Bragg was killed in Syria on Friday, March 30, according to the Department of Defense.

Master Sgt. Jonathan J. Dunbar, 36, of Austin, Texas, died from wounds received near Manbij, Syria, officials said.

Dunbar, assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, and a British soldier, officials said, were killed by an improvised explosive device while on patrol.

A spokesman for USASOC said Dunbar joined the Army in 2005, six years after he graduated from John B. Connally High School in Austin.

His first assignment was with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division as a machine gunner, fire team leader and squad leader. He deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq with that unit before transferring to Fort Hood in 2009 to join a long range surveillance battalion and again deploy to Iraq.

Dunbar was assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Army Special Operations Command in 2013. He served as a team leader and deployed three times in support of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We honor you, Jonathan Dunbar.

(Submission by: Miah Parry. #Repost @The Fayette Observer)