MILITARY LEGEND: JOHN CHAPMAN | CALL-SIGN MAKO THREE ZERO CHARLIE, A MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT
Sergeant Chapman enlisted in the Air Force on Sept. 27, 1985, as an information systems operator, but felt called to be part of Air Force special operations. In 1989, he cross-trained to become an Air Force combat controller.
Fast forward to 2002, and Chapman took part in Operation Anaconda, a special operation to push the Taliban out of Afghanistan by establishing a series of observation posts. one such post was Takur Ghar. Attached to a Navy SEAL Team, they attempted to take control of the mountaintop to establish an observation post but were repelled by overwhelming enemy firepower. During the helo retreat, a SEAL team member fell from the helo and perished in the deep snow on the mountaintop.
After returning to safety, the SEAL team and John Chapman decided to return to retrieve their fallen comrade's body. When the team touched down once again on Takur Ghar, they were under heavy fire from multiple bunkers and had to fight uphill in thigh-high snow. Chapman charged ahead through the snow ahead of his team, who were effectively suppressed by the enemy and killed two Taliban in a bunker at close range. He entered the bunker with a SEAL team member and engaged the Heavy MG in the adjacent bunker, at which point he was wounded and lost consciousness.
The SEAL team leader saw Chapman lying motionless and decided to retreat downhill with the remainder of his team, leaving Chapman behind. An AC130 gunship was called in and pummeled the mountaintop in an attempt to destroy the Taliban outposts and retrieve their fallen comrades. During this time, Chapman was experiencing this hellacious destruction from his position on the mountain. He regained consciousness and continued to engage the enemy from all sides by himself. At one point Taliban made it into his bunker, and he killed them in hand-to-hand combat. When another helicopter with Army Rangers approached to rescue him, he charged out of his bunker to protect the helo after it was hit by an RPG, thus distracting the enemy with his final remaining rounds long enough for the soldiers to disembark.
Unfortunately, this legendary hero was shot through the heart and killed instantly. In all, his body suffered a half dozen bullet wounds, bruises, and cuts from hand-to-hand combat but the selfless defense of his position and final charge to protect his comrades earned him our country's highest honor.
DIA Honors this hero with a shirt of our design, representing the shattered earth he died to take from the enemy, fighting alone on a mountaintop until his final breath. A true American hero!