In the last two hours of his life, Air Force Tech. Sgt. John A. Chapman saved the lives of a special operations teams by sacrificing himself to stop the enemy from shooting down a helicopter carrying reinforcements to the battle.
In 2002, John Chapman survived alone on top of Roberts Ridge through a cold Afghan night, fending off assaults by the Taliban single-handedly. He sacrificed his life to provide cover for a Chinook full of Rangers who were about to set down inside of a Taliban killbox.
It was March 4, 2002. American special operations forces were fighting to establish observation posts high above Afghanistan's Shah-i-Kot Valley, as conventional troops continued their push through the valley floor below.
An Air Force combat controller earned the service’s second highest award for valor in combat for his actions during an intense eight-hour battle in northern Afghanistan last November that left dozens dead, the head of Air Force Special Operations Command announced on Sept. 20.