'Outmanned, Outgunned and Fighting': Navy SEAL Britt Slabinski Receives Medal of Honor

news

Editor’s Note: This article by Hope Hodge Seck and Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.


Surrounded by Navy SEALs and family members, retired Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Britt Slabinski received the military's highest honor in a White House ceremony Thursday afternoon.

Slabinski is credited with risking his life to lead a rescue attempt for a fellow SEAL, Petty Officer 1st Class Neil Roberts, during a snowy mission atop a 10,000-foot peak, Takur Ghar, in Afghanistan. The fight, which cost the lives of seven service members including Roberts and left 20 more wounded, would become known as the Battle of Roberts Ridge.

"Today, we induct a new name into the most exclusive gathering of heroes," President Donald Trump told a crowd assembled in the East Room of the White House.

President Donald Trump awards the Medal of Honor to Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Britt K. Slabinski during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 24, 2018.Associated Press/Susan Walsh

Among those in attendance were five Medal of Honor recipients, including Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward Byers, a SEAL who received the medal for heroism in Afghanistan in 2016 and continues to serve on active duty.

Also present were seven members of Slabinski's team from the 2002 battle in Afghanistan, who stood while Trump applauded them.

The president described the battle and how Roberts had been forcibly ejected from an MH-47 helicopter after it was hit by rocket-propelled grenade fire. When Slabinski received word that Roberts might still be alive, he was confronted with a dilemma.

"The team faced a choice: to wait for reinforcements and pretty much safety, or to return immediately to the enemy stronghold in the hope of saving Neil's life," Trump said. "They would be outmanned, outgunned and fighting uphill on a steep icy mountain, and every soldier knows you don't want to fight uphill."

Still, Trump said, the necessary choice was clear.

"The odds were not good, but Britt and his team didn't hesitate for a moment," he said.

Related: Operators Are Bitterly Infighting Over The Latest Medal Of Honor Announcement »

Near the end of his remarks, Trump recognized those killed in the battle: Roberts; Air Force Tech. Sgt. John Chapman; Senior Airman Jason Cunningham; Army Cpl. Matthew Commons; Sgt. Bradley Crose; Spc. Marc Anderson; and Sgt. Phillip Svitak.

He applauded for several seconds as family members of the fallen service members stood.

Trump noted that Slabinski wanted the medal to recognize not only himself, but his whole team.

"We are free because warriors like you are willing to give their sweat, their blood and, if need be, their lives for our nation," Trump said. "Britt, we salute you. We thank God for making you a Navy SEAL."

This article originally appeared on Military.com

Read more from Military.com

WATCH NEXT:

Kade Kurita (U.S. Army photo(

Kade Kurita, the 20-year-old West Point cadet who had been missing since Friday evening, was found dead on Tuesday night, the U.S. Military Academy announced early Wednesday morning.

"We are grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cadet Kurita's family and friends," Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, superintendent of West Point, said in the release.

Read More Show Less

VISTA —An Iraq war veteran who said he killed a stranger in Oceanside at the behest of a secret agency that controlled his brain was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The sentence for Mikhail Schmidt comes less than a month after a Superior Court jury in North County found Schmidt guilty of first-degree murder of Jacob Bravo, a stranger that Schmidt spotted, followed and stabbed to death on March 8, 2017.

Read More Show Less

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A Strongsville woman convicted of fleecing an ailing Korean War veteran out of much of his life savings was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison.

Latasha Wisniewski, 38, feigned a sexual interest in Charles Bauer in late 2017 by taking the 88-year-old widower to a plastic surgeon's office and asking him to pay for breast implants. She then withdrew more than $140,000 from Bauer's accounts over the following months, according to court records.

Read More Show Less

Mark Mitchell is stepping down as the acting assistant defense secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict, a position he has held since late June, a defense official confirmed on Tuesday.

No information was immediately available about why Mitchell decided to resign. His last day will be Nov. 1 and he will be replaced by Thomas Alexander, who is currently leading the Defense Department's counternarcotics efforts, the defense official told Task & Purpose.

Read More Show Less
Photo: West Point

The U.S. Military Academy identified a cadet who has been missing since Friday evening as 20-year-old Kade Kurita.

A search began for Kurita after he failed to report for a scheduled military skills competition around 5:30pm on Friday. West Point officials said in the Tuesday press release that he is believed to still be nearby.

Read More Show Less