HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (AFNS) — The name John Chapman is already well known in the Air Force community, and will now fly across the globe on the side of an iconic aircraft.
The Air Force dedicated a Boeing C-32 Master Sgt. John Chapman, during a ceremony at Hurlburt Field, Florida, Oct. 26. Chapman was a special tactics combat controller who was posthumously presented the Medal of Honor in August.
“Our nation continues to be the land of the free because of brave men like John Chapman,” Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said. “The dedication of this aircraft is just one way we continue to honor John’s legacy.”
The aircraft dedication came during a multi-day celebration of Chapman’s life and legacy at Hurlburt Field. Several members of the Chapman family were in attendance, including his widow, Valerie Nessel, and his mother, Terry Chapman.
“It was an honor to be here with the Chapman family, to be part of this special tribute to John and his heroic sacrifice for our Nation,” said Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein. “The naming of this aircraft will serve to remind those traveling on board ‘Chappy’ of the caliber of people who have served as Airmen.”
The C-32 is used to provide safe, comfortable and reliable transportation for our nation’s leaders to locations around the world. It is often referred to by the distinctive call sign “Air Force Two” when the vice president, one of the aircraft’s primary customers, is on board. It is also used by the first lady and members of the presidential Cabinet and Congress.
Chapman’s selfless actions during the Battle of Takur Ghar in Afghanistan in 2002 originally earned him an Air Force Cross medal. A recent review of Air Force Cross and Silver Star medals led to Chapman becoming the first Airman since the Vietnam War, and the first special tactics Airman ever, to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
During the celebration of Chapman’s life, his family toured the base and learned first-hand about the impact Chapman has made on the Air Force. In addition to the aircraft dedication, the 24th Special Operations Wing headquarters building, the home of the Air Force’s only Special Tactics wing, was renamed after Chapman.