August 27, 2016
The secretary of the Air Force is pushing to award a Medal of Honor to the first Connecticut native to die in the war in Afghanistan, based on new evidence 14 years after his death, the New York Times reported.Valerie Chapman holds a photograph of her husband, Air ForceTech Sgt. John Chapman. Chapman was killed on March 4, 2002during Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan. (Tracy Wilcox / Hartford Courant)
Sgt. John Chapman, 36, a standout athlete and 1983 graduate of Windsor Locks High School, was killed in combat after military action began in Afghanistan following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
He died on March 4, 2002, while attempting to retrieve the body of a Navy SEAL who had fallen from a helicopter during an attack by al Qaida and Taliban fighters, according to previous Courant reports.
But new evidence unearthed by the Air Force about Chapman's final hours suggests that a senior chief petty officer may have been incorrect when he declared Chapman dead during the attack, the New York Times reported.
Instead, the Air Force said, Chapman lived for an hour after his teammates had retreated, fighting enemy troops alone, according to the newspaper report. New technology used in an examination of videos from aircraft flying overhead indicate that Chapman killed two Al Qaida fighters before "dying in an attempt to protect arriving reinforcements," the newspaper reported.
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