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Blumenthal-Backed Provision in NDAA to Help Clear Way for Connecticut-Raised Servicemember to Receive Medal of Honor

Blumenthal backed a provision that waives the statutory time limitation for the Medal of Honor. Air Force Sergeant John Chapman, raised in Windsor Locks, was killed in combat in Afghanistan in March 2002.

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Conference Committee for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), released the following statement today after a measure he backed to waive the statutory time limitation for the Medal of Honor in certain cases currently under review by the Department of Defense passed as part of the NDAA’s passage. The Secretary of Defense is currently considering Windsor Locks-raised Air Force Sergeant John Chapman posthumously for the Medal of Honor. If the President decides to award the Medal of Honor to Sgt. Chapman for his ultimate sacrifice in March 2002, this provision would provide the authority to waive the five-year statutory time limitation for Sgt. Chapman to receive the award.

“Sergeant John Chapman is a hero,” said Blumenthal. “He made the ultimate sacrifice protecting fellow war fighters while fearlessly fighting for our country after the tragic events on September 11 and I vow to continue to support his candidacy for the Medal of Honor. This provision, rightfully included in the NDAA, is a helpful step. We will never fully be able to repay Sergeant Chapman and his loved ones for his extraordinary sacrifice in Afghanistan, but we can honor his unparalleled heroism to the highest degree.”

Air Force Sgt. John Chapman, 36, graduated from Windsor Locks High School in 1983. During Operation Anaconda – a March 2002 mission in the eastern mountains of Afghanistan – Sergeant Chapman was killed while serving as an Air Force technical sergeant radioman embedded with SEAL Team Six. Sergeant Chapman was posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross in 2003 for his heroism when trying to rescue his fallen team member. If his nomination for the Medal of Honor is approved, he will be the first from the Air Force to receive this distinction since the Vietnam War.

Blumenthal has been a steadfast supporter of Sgt. Chapman’s candidacy. In addition to fighting for the NDAA provision, Blumenthal led letters from the Connecticut congressional delegation and Congressman Jeff Miller ( R-FL.) to the Secretary of Defense and the Armed Services Committees in September 2016, which advocated for Sgt. Chapman’s heroism and candidacy.