Story of insanely heroic John Chapman to get Hollywood treatment - Nine Line News

In March of 2002, Air Force combat controller Master Sergeant John Chapman was part of a team of SEALs, Army Rangers and air crews engaged in what proved to be the deadliest entanglement during Operation Anaconda, early in the war in Afghanistan.

For his actions, Chapman became the first airman since the Vietnam War to receive the Medal of Honor – posthumously. Chapman’s heroic life ended that day on the snowy mountain top of Takur Ghar.

Chapman was originally awarded an Air Force Cross for his actions, but was eventually upgraded to a Medal of Honor, awarded by President Donald Trump on August 22, 2018.

Now a major motion picture will be made about Chapman, starring Jake Gyllenhaal as the MOH recipient.

But, the movie’s focus won’t be on Chapman’s heroics. Instead, it takes place 15 years later, as a lead character, Air Force Capt. Cora Alexander, investigates whether Chapman is worthy of an upgrade to the Medal of Honor.

According to Deadline, “Alexander has to uncover the truth, and in revealing Chapman’s sacrifice to the world, she forges her own path to self-forgiveness and personal redemption.”

It’s not clear who is slated to play Alexander, or if she’s based on a real person. The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) indicates the film will be directed by Sam Hargrave. Also on the credit list are Chapman’s sister, Lori Longfritz, and Dan Schilling, who together co-wrote the definitive account of Chapman and his last stand, entitled Alone at Dawn.

It’s interesting that Hollywood has chosen to use Chapman’s story to frame another one. There can be no doubt the story of Robert’s Ridge is dramatic enough.

The battle of “Roberts Ridge” was named after its first casualty, Navy SEAL Neil C. Roberts.

It began when two SEAL teams, were to be inserted into a landing zone near the peak of Takur Ghar. Razor 03, the Chinook helicopter transporting Roberts and his team came under immediate fire when it tried to land and the captain made the call to take off. As the helicopter took flight, Roberts fell out the open ramp and tumbled onto the snow.

Chapman was with the second SEAL team on Razor 4, inserted onto the mountain. They also came under enemy fire, and two SEALs along with Chapman were wounded.

After the 20-minute firefight, the SEAL team, Mako 30, was forced off the peak, and requested the assistance of a quick reaction force, primarily made up of Army Rangers from the 1st battalion.

The SEAL team mistakenly believed Chapman was killed. But he was alive – alone and wounded, but alive enough to continue fighting. In a supreme act of courage, he continued fighting the enemy, eliminating at least two, including one in hand-to-hand combat, before he was finally killed.

Meanwhile, the first half of the quick reaction force reached the landing zone on Razor 01, and immediately came under fire. Three Rangers, CPL Matthew A. Commons, SGT Bradley S. Crose, and SPC Marc A. Anderson were killed, as well as Army SOAR SGT. Philip Svitak.

The second half of the force with 10 Rangers was inserted at an “offset” landing zone aboard Razor 02, and had to make its way up a 45 to 70-degree snow-covered slope, under mortar fire, in thin mountain air, carrying weapons, body armor and equipment. It was brutal.

The force was able to consolidate, and ultimately prevailed, but not before Senior Airman Jason D. Cunningham, a pararescueman, was killed by an enemy counterattack.

Actual drone footage taken during the battle shows the harrowing conditions, and the heroism of those who fought on Roberts Ridge 19 years ago.

5 Responses

  1. Karen

    This video just overwhelms me every time I watch it. It just blows my mind that it took them so long to acknowledge this warrior’s selfless act. I hope this movie does him justice and follows the true story.

    Reply
  2. Frank ROLAND

    Ever since returning from Viet Nam I’ve dealt with crazy veteran movies. The only one I’ve ever seen and liked was Me Gibson’s “We were soldiers once”. Get use to it pals, they’re always going to do something to deny the respect and honor that our veterans have brought to this country.

    Reply

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