Armed Forces News

The Air Force is reviewing the record of Tech Sgt. John Chapman, who died in combat in Afghanistan in 2002, to determine whether his actions warrant a Medal of Honor. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James ordered the review after new evidence surfaced regarding the operation, the Hartford (Conn.) Courant reported Aug. 28. Initial records had indicated that Chapman was killed while trying to retrieve the body of Navy Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 1st Class (SEAL) Neil Roberts, who was presumed dead after he had fallen out of a helicopter. New evidence indicates that Roberts may have survived the fall for an hour, and that Chapman fought fiercely during that time to defend his mortally injured comrade. He received a posthumous Air Force Cross – the service’s second-highest honor for valor, for his actions. The New York Times reported that Chapman likely died while waiting for reinforcements. Chapman, a Connecticut native, was attached to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Air Force Base, N.C., at the time. He is survived by a wife and two daughters.