Chapman’s Medal of Honor Story, Legacy Celebrated at Hall of Heroes

SECAF Heather Wilson speaks during ??TSgt. John Chapman's induction into the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon, Aug. 23, 2018. DVIDs screenshot.

USAF leaders on Thursday officially placed TSgt. John Chapman into the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes, and unofficially placed his name into Air Force lore.

Chapman, who posthumously received the Medal of Honor on Wednesday for his actions in the 2002 Battle of Takur Ghar, will now be mentioned alongside other USAF Medal of Honor legends such as Bud Day, John Levitow, and Leo Thorsness.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said Chapman’s heroism during the battle, when he gave his life fighting alone on an Afghan mountaintop to protect his team, is emblematic of the best of the US military.

“We fight with purpose, and we go to war with our values,” Goldfein said. “And not only was John Chapman a fearless warrior, he was an incredibly good man.”

“As the story of John Chapman is told over the years, may we never lose touch with the story of John Chapman, the man,” Goldfein added.

The Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes is a room dedicated to all to the recipients of the Medal of Honor. During the ceremony, USAF leaders unveiled Chapman’s name on the list of other heroes from the War in Afghanistan. His presence there “will forever speak to the kind of man he really was,” CMSAF Kaleth Wright said.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, who got choked up with emotion retelling the story of Chapman fighting alone at Robert’s Ridge, said Chapman prepared his whole career, through training and fighting alongside his team, for the heroism he exhibited.

“To be sure, John’s bravery that day wasn’t some fluke,” she said. “He had prepared himself for that day.”

Members of Chapman’s family attended the ceremony alongside USAF and Defense Department leaders, and during the ceremony Chapman’s mother, Terry Chapman,? said, “I can’t tell you how much it means to me and my family.”

The Air Force and the nation owes Chapman and his family a debt of gratitude, Wilson said.

“Our nation continues to be the land of the free because of brave men like John Chapman,” she said.