President Donald Trump Awarded a former member of the US Navy’s SEAL Team Six with the Medal of Honor on Thursday for his attempted rescue of a teammate on the top of a mountain in Afghanistan in March 2002.
Retired Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Britt Slabinski received the highest honor in the military for leading a “daring assault” high up on a mountain in Afghanistan.
“You waged a fierce fight against the enemy, and these really have become the enemies of America and the enemies of all civilization,” said Trump.
“Through your actions, you demonstrated there is no love more pure and no courage more great than the love and courage that burns in the hearts of American patriots,” he continued. “We are free because warriors like you are willing to give their sweat, their blood, and if they have to their lives for our great nation.”
Early in the morning of March 4, 2002, Slabinski’s team encountered heavy fire in the mountains of Afghanistan forcing an attempted landing on top of a 10,000-foot snowy peak. While the helicopter was attempting to land, enemy fire knocked Petty Officer 1st Class Neil Roberts out of the helicopter and onto the mountaintop below.
The damaged helicopter was forced to land in the valley below. Slabinski then decided to lead the remainder of his team back to the top of the mountain to rescue his teammate. A mountain covered in waist-deep snow and swarming with Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorists.
After surviving another harrowing helicopter trip up the mountain and spending 14 hours fighting off the enemy. Slabinski and his team were extracted. Seven Americans were killed and six were wounded in the fighting. Unfortunately, Roberts was captured and killed after falling from the helicopter.
Another member of the rescue team, Air Force Technical Sgt. John Chapman, will be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor later this year. Despite being alone, badly wounded, and believed to be dead, Chapman fought off Al-Qaeda attacks singlehandedly for an hour on the mountainside and provided cover for an approaching helicopter before being killed.