USAF Considering Upgrading Chapman’s Air Force Cross

The Air Force is pressing to upgrade the valor award for fallen TSgt. John Chapman from an Air Force Cross to a Medal of Honor after new video shows he continued fighting alone after a Navy SEAL team he was with left him on an Afghan mountainside. Chapman was killed in a 2002 battle on an Afghan mountain, after the SEAL team he was with retreated thinking he was already dead. But new video suggests Chapman was still alive, and killed two more insurgents and provided cover fire to an Army rescue helicopter before he was killed, The New York Times reported. The story seemed to change when Air Force officials, using new video enhancement technology, reviewed video from the battle caught by a Predator overheard, the Times reported. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James is reportedly pressing for the Air Force Cross to be upgraded to a Medal of Honor, which would be the Air Force’s first Medal of Honor awarded in the Global War on Terrorism. Air Force officials on Monday said Defense Department policy prohibits the discussion of possible award upgrades, and there has been no official update since the service said last year it was reviewing previously awarded medals. (See also: To the Top of Takur Gar from the July 2011 issue of Air Force Magazine.)