Monday, August 27, 2018

A Dog's Breakfast*

 
Well, as you may have heard, this monument is now out of date.  Another name needs to be added and adding it will be especially appropriate as the monument is on Lackland AFB,  home of Basic Training for the Air Force. 

The newest recipient was enlisted.   

(OK, quibble if you want, Joint Base Lackland. I think the Navy also does Basic there, as there are a lot of very young kids in Blue BDU's and no visible rank insignia there).

Source

In any case, the President saw fit to present the Medal of Honor to TSgt  John A. Chapman.  The awards ceremony was conducted last Wednesday, August 22nd.  Unfortunately, MSgt Chapman was unable to attend having been called before a higher authority.  His widow received the Medal in his honor.
Source

MSgt Chapman initially received the Air Force Cross for the actions he took on March 4 2002 in an action variously named "The Battle of Robert's Ridge" or "The Battle of Takur Gar".  It's called "Robert's Ridge" after the first casualty of the battle a Navy Seal named Neil C. Roberts.  Takur Gar was the name of the mountain in Afghanistan where it was fought.
Source

I'm going to refer you to this source, as there's too much going on to adequately synopsize other than this operation was indeed a "Dog's Breakfast.  The statement I find especially damning (if true, this is afterall Wikipedia) is:
"The SEALs were not heavily involved in the Operation up to this point but the TF11 commander bluntly ordered their deployment as well as changing the immediate command in an ongoing operation, possibly so that the SEALs could gain combat experience."
Emphasis mine.

How many times in history has changing the chain of command at the last minute caused the ensuing engagement to result in calamity?

In any case, the video of the engagement has been released.  (They had a Predator overhead, the propeller of which is in the Air Force Chief of Staff's office.)




I've said before, the difference in the Air Force Cross and the Medal of Honor is either the writing talent of the award recommendation writer or the political climate.  The latter may very well have been the case at the time. 

Improved analysis of the Predator film MSgt, having been assumed KIA and left behind on the evacuation of the survivors, appears to have regained consciousness and resumed fighting killing an additional two enemy fighters before being struck by an RPG and finally being killed by a machine gun.

 However, the process to fix the situation started in January 2016 with SecDef Ash Carter's directive to review all Air Force Cross, Navy Cross and Distinguished Service Cross recipients from Iraq and Afghanistan for possible upgrade  to the Medal of Honor.

IMHO, MSgt Chapman fully deserves the upgrade. 

Rest in Peace, Warrior!


Source
MSgt Chapman's Citation **:


Technical Sergeant John A. Chapman distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism as an Air Force Special Tactics Combat Controller, attached to a Navy Sea, Air, and Land (SEAL) Team conducting reconnaissance operations in Takur Ghar, Afghanistan, on March 4, 2002.
During insertion, the team’s helicopter was ambushed causing a teammate to fall into an entrenched group of enemy combatants below. Sergeant Chapman and the team voluntarily reinserted onto the snow-capped mountain, into the heart of a known enemy stronghold to rescue one of their own. Without regard for his own safety, Sergeant Chapman immediately engaged, moving in the direction of the closest enemy position despite coming under heavy fire from multiple directions.
He fearlessly charged an enemy bunker, up a steep incline in thigh-deep snow and into hostile fire, directly engaging the enemy. Upon reaching the bunker, Sergeant Chapman assaulted and cleared the position, killing all enemy occupants.
With complete disregard for his own life, Sergeant Chapman deliberately moved from cover only 12 meters from the enemy, and exposed himself once again to attack a second bunker, from which an emplaced machine gun was firing on his team. During this assault from an exposed position directly in the line of intense fire, Sergeant Chapman was struck and injured by enemy fire.Despite severe, mortal wounds, he continued to fight relentlessly, sustaining a violent engagement with multiple enemy personnel before making the ultimate sacrifice.
By his heroic actions and extraordinary valor, sacrificing his life for the lives of his teammates, Technical Sergeant Chapman upheld the highest traditions of military service and reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

*"Something or someone that looks extremely untidy, or something that is very badly done". source

**Yes, The Congressional Medal of Honor Society has already updated its website to include MSgt Chapman.  The official USAF site has not (a/o 8/26/18).  I wonder if the National Museum of the US Air Force will update their display since they're now behind by two.

30 comments:

  1. For some reason the opening photo had vanished between the scheduling and the publishing, fixed that for you,

    MSgt Chapman's MoH was overdue.

    Thanks for the post Juvat, we need to remember these men.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the assist. My Blogger-fu was F.U. today. I thought I'd scheduled it to post at 0400, but must not have actually hit the publish button, so was late. Sorry 'bout that, it'll never happen again. (Until the next time I get in a rush.)

      Yes, it was, and should (IMHO) never have had to be upgraded.

      Delete
    2. Well, if you post them as draft for a couple days and have them ready to go...

      Delete
    3. Going all teacher's pet now?

      ;)

      Delete
    4. To misquote STarTX, "Post a couple of hundred posts every Monday, do they call you a blogger? Screw up one button and they're there to show you your mistakes." Or something like that.

      Delete
    5. Oh...and Beans....What Sarge said!

      :-)

      Delete
    6. And juvat? Since our noble host makes soooooo many boo-boos himself, he can at least cut us some slack.

      Delete
    7. Slack Sir? Is it slack you be wanting then? Very well, bosun, rig me a grating!

      Hhmm, too much?

      Delete
    8. Yikes! An I be a-humbling at you, Sir. (tugs forelocks, bows head.)

      Delete
    9. Ahhhh Knock it off Beans, he still fricking wants to go water-skiing after lunch.

      Delete
    10. Nah, we're racing this weekend. Not against other triremes either.

      I've got a bet with the CO of the Nimitz as to how fast you guys can row...

      Delete
    11. Ohhhh Goody!Something to look forward to.

      Delete
  2. MSgt Chapman was a great warrior. His actions exemplify the bravery and dedication that I think we all try for. In the crucible of combat, where some tread gently MSgt Chapman charged with the heart of a lion. Bravery is overcoming your natural instincts for self preservation and fighting to complete the mission against all odds. His story should be taught to all new members of the service, officers and enlisted, as a model for all to strive for. Well done MSgt Chapman, you have earned a honored place in the pantheon of warrior heroes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marching to the sound of the guns has always been the mark of a warrior. Charging them is the mark of a WARRIOR!

      The MSgt warrants the latter.

      Delete
    2. I went to Tech School at Keesler AFB, Biloxi, MS, for Ground Radio (at my primary site (combined RX/Control -- a real rarity in a USAF that tends to subdivide jobs ad infinitum, at least in fields related to my AFSC) at Clark AB, that was about 1/3 radio (HF and SATCOM), 1/3 phone switches and lines, 1/6 computers, and 1/6 amplifiers/multiplexers/modems. Plus about 1/3 dealing with Tech Control (something my Navy CTMCM father who worked at Wullenweber/FLR-9 sites or taught or administered schools for those destined for such jobs) derided as a useless/needless complication and I ended up agreeing with him), and 1/3 dealing with our useless TX Site at Camp O'Donnell. Which we found out towards the end of my extended tour were picking up their girlfriends on the bus out to the remote site and hosting them for their 3 days out their, holding orgies in the break room and dorm, among other things. There's a reason I got a drawing commissioned showing a skeleton in a SrA's field uniform with cobwebs dangling while holding a phone at what looked suspiciously like (but unlike) that Scope Signal III phone/terminal station with generic equipement racks behind, titled, "Waiting for C.O.D. for loopbacks". Somehow that didn't make it back with me, though I did get a roommate's videotapes of flight ops from the tower and the ends of the runways during a wargame. Unlike the unionized NYC Public Housing Authority workers who not only did the same thing, but got paid overtime for swinging, all officers and NCOs involved got court-martialed, while lower enlisted (except for a couple who'd only been there less than 4-6 weeks) got Article 15s and LORs (which meant out, out , out since the so-called "Peace Dividend" was already being felt even if the Soviet Union hadn't yet collapsed.

      Anyway, at Keesler, I was in 19th Squadron, part of the Drum and Bugle Corps. On the 3rd floor of the barracks just above us (closest in the Student Triangle to the runway), were the Combat Controller trainees (ATC was taught at Keesler, and that's where I met my roommate at Clark, who was regular ATC). They impressed the hell out of me. We watched them do PT that we could only dream of, and I can't count how many times we were waken up at 2 or 3 AM to the sounds of hollering, thumping, and sometimes more pull-ups and push-ups down in the courtyard than I've ever dream of making in a month. Or just more thumping upstairs that sounded like impromptu all-out no-holds-barred wrestling. Never in my best days could I have ever competed with any of them. I'd have died of heat stroke. Maybe I might do well in ski troops. But Gulf Coast heat and humidity kicked my ass. It's about time Chapman got recognized, and hopefully more will be coming soon.

      Delete
  3. Sarge is correct, this was long overdue. Thanks, Juvat for refocusing the spotlight on this warrior.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Brave man.

    The old malcontent EM is me sees once again a good man lost correcting some shoe clerk's f^^^up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. High ranking shoe clerk, probably looking to take credit if the attack had been successful, but able to blame the folks on the ground for the failure while preventing any investigation into his role by submitting the casualties for a good enough medal that didn't require anything but a cursory investigation into the circumstances to award. Yep, WSF, I think you've got it right.

      BTW, I, and probably ever other reader on this blog with military experience, have come in contact with people like that.

      A Pox on them all.

      Delete
  5. You would think, after the complete disaster of Desert One, that they would have learned NOT to mess with op orders at the last minute. Friggin idiots.

    Our Servicemembers mostly don't deserve most of the politicians and bureaucrats that put them in harm's way. But it seems that has been the truth since man first started having politicians and bureaucrats.

    Thank you for this MOH presentation. He deserved better.

    And what is it with it taking 20 years or more, in this information overload age, that still takes so long for the citation process? Yes, it was deserved. But it was deserved in 2002. Come on, Congress and Service leaders, get off your duff and do your damned jobs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It has been my experience that far too many officers no longer know how to write and their best efforts are nothing but a joke. I noted that almost 40 years ago when I opened the service records of really good men and found their fitreps were at best written by children, and not even english speaking children. Some were written in black grease pencil.

      Award citations aren't all that hard to write. I served on the fleet flagship and found that this simply wasn't true.

      Delete
    2. Fortunately, I was never in a position to write a nomination for anything above an MSM. I agree that citations aren't all that hard to write. I always found them to be hard to write well, though. However, I'm not as erudite as most folks on this blog.

      Delete
  6. I would say, uncharitably, that the administration in office at the time (both civilian and military) did not want the clusterfarkedness of the operation to experience a great deal of publicity. The subsequent administration, well.......was the subsequent administration with its demonstrated genuine love for the military, so......
    This administration seems to have a different approach to the military. I think I like it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The current administration, so far, seems to get it. Letting the war-fighters fight without holding their hands. How original. Like in a good way.

      As to the administration in 2002, how much of that was hold-over from the 3rd worst president in the modern era?

      Delete
    2. Probably a bit, Billy Jeff and his "peace dividend" had implication we're still dealing with today.

      Delete
  7. Good points about getting the MOH depending on how well the action report is written. Also I have often wondered how many fallen warriors would deserve one but for lack of witnesses or no written report? I think that is why many awardees say they wear it for all the warriors.

    As I have been going through Lex's writings, he was complaining (a) how few were given in the 2 theaters, and (b) you had to have been killed for the most part'

    ReplyDelete

Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)