May 10, 2018

Profiles of Valor: U.S. Navy SEAL Britt Slabinski

This particular Medal of Honor for a battle in Afghanistan is not without controversy.

A retired U.S. Navy SEAL, Master Chief Special Warfare Operator (Sea, Air, and Land) Britt K. Slabinski, will receive the Medal of Honor on May 24 for “conspicuous gallantry” during a firefight in Afghanistan. Here’s how the White House describes Slabinski’s heroism:

> As a Team Leader assigned to a Joint Task Force, in the early morning hours of 4 March 2002, then-Senior Chief Slabinski led a reconnaissance team to its assigned observation area on a snow covered, 10,000-foot mountaintop in support of a major coalition offensive [Operation Anaconda] against Al-Qaida forces in the valley below. Rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fired from enemy fighters hidden and entrenched in the tree lines and rocks riddled the team’s insertion helicopter. One teammate was ejected from the aircraft, and the crippled helicopter crash landed on the valley floor below. Then-Senior Chief Slabinski boldly rallied his remaining team and organized supporting assets for a daring assault back to the mountain peak in an attempt to rescue their stranded teammate. Later, after a second enemy-opposed insertion, then-Senior Chief Slabinski led his six-man joint team up a snow-covered hill, in a frontal assault against two bunkers under withering enemy fire from three directions. He repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire as he engaged in a pitched, close-quarters firefight against the tenacious and more heavily armed enemy forces. Proximity made air support impossible, and after several teammates became casualties, the situation became untenable.

> Senior Chief Slabinski maneuvered his team to a more defensible position, directed air strikes in very close proximity to his team’s position, and requested reinforcements. As daylight approached, the accurate enemy mortar fire forced the team further down the sheer mountainside. Carrying a seriously wounded teammate down a sheer cliff face, he led an arduous trek across one kilometer of precipitous terrain, through waist-deep snow while continuing to call fire on the enemy who was engaging the team from the surrounding ridges. During the subsequent 14 hours, he stabilized casualties on his team and continued the fight against the enemy until the mountaintop was secured by the quick reaction force and his team was extracted.

The Battle of Takur Ghar was considered by the Defense Department as U.S. special operators’ most intense firefight since Mogadishu in 1993. Seven Americans were killed and 12 wounded, and U.S. forces lost two MH-47 Chinooks. One other American, Air Force Technical Sgt. John Chapman, will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for actions during the battle. He will be the first Airman to receive it since Vietnam.

It’s Chapman’s story, however, that makes Slabinski’s Medal of Honor unusually controversial. The Navy argues that Chapman was already dead when the SEALs evacuated under Slabinski’s command. The Air Force insists the SEALs left Chapman alone on the mountainside to later die in the assault. Drone footage and autopsy results appear to corroborate the Air Force’s account.

Though the USAF does not assert that leaving Chapman behind was purposeful or anything less than the best the SEAL operators could do under terrible circumstances, some argue that Slabinski’s Medal is a SEAL effort to save face. At the same time, the Medal of Honor is the most strenuously vetted award, and, given that it’s been 16 years since the battle, it’s not easy to second-guess the decision to award Slabinski with the Medal given what he thought he knew during the battle.

Slabinski previously earned the Navy Cross for his actions in the battle, but he will now become the 12th living service member to be awarded the Medal for actions in Afghanistan. He retired in 2014 after serving in the Navy for 25 years, including nine deployments overseas and 15 combat missions.

Trump awarded the Medal to Slabinski on May 24:

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our Military Mission of Service to our uniformed service members and veterans, are proud to support and promote the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, both the Honoring the Sacrifice and Warrior Freedom Service Dogs aiding wounded veterans, the National Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, the Folds of Honor outreach, and Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation, and Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. "Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13)


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

Join us in prayer for our nation, that good and righteous leaders would rise and prevail, and that division would be healed so we can be united as Americans. We pray also for the protection of our Military Patriots, Veterans and First Responders, and for their families.

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2023 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.