Chapman Circle honors fallen hero's legacy

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Scott Warner
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

MacDill Air Force Base honored the legacy of Master Sgt. John Chapman, a Medal of Honor recipient, by renaming Staff Circle to John Chapman Circle during a ceremony Jan. 30, 2019.

Chapman was the first Airman to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War and the first Special Tactics Airman to ever receive the Medal of Honor. Upon receiving the medal, Chapman was posthumously promoted to the rank of master sergeant.

“In celebration of the life, service and sacrifice of Master Sgt. Chapman, Team MacDill wanted to fully honor him with a presentation that is everlasting,” said Col. Stephen Snelson, the 6th Air Mobility Wing commander.

Chapman, who enlisted prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks, was specially trained for infiltration in combat and austere environments as an experienced military free fall jumper, expert in reconnaissance operations, air traffic control and terminal attack control operations to decisively integrate airpower onto the battlefield.


Chapman's last military battle was that of Takur Ghar on March 4, 2002. He was a combat controller with Navy Sea, Air and Land (SEAL) Team 6 when he sacrificed himself to protect his team during a voluntary rescue mission.

President Donald J. Trump posthumously awarded Chapman the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor in the line of duty, in August 2018.

“In his final act of supreme courage, John gave his life for his fellow warriors,” said Trump. “Through extraordinary sacrifice, John helped save more than 20 service members.”

It’s been almost seventeen years since the Battle of Takur Ghar, but the values Chapman demonstrated remain an example to all branches of service.

“Master Sgt. Chapman’s story of heroism inspires me because he embodied our core values, refusing to leave a team member behind enemy lines,” said Airman 1st Class Trevor Mayer, a 6th Communications Squadron radio frequency transmission system technician. “He volunteered to face that threat of danger and gave his life in the process so his team members may live.”

During the ceremony, an honorary plaque was unveiled by Col. Snelson and Chapman’s spouse near the John Chapman Circle street sign. In attendance were members of Chapman’s family as well as distinguished guests from U.S. Special Operations Command, U.S. Central Command and the 6th Air Mobility Wing command team.

“The most senior enlisted leaders on this installation reside within this housing complex [on John Chapman Circle],” said Chief Master Sgt. Sarah Sparks, the 6th AMW Command Chief. “My neighbors are heroes within their own right, and they understand honor, duty and selflessness.  It only makes sense that they live in a place that now reflects those characteristics.”

John Chapman Circle tells a story about American heroism and will forever serve as an inspiring reminder of service before self.