Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Britt K. Slabinski received the Medal of Honor at the White House from President Trump for his heroic actions during a battle in Afghanistan in 2002.
The president described the action that led to Slabinski’s medal.
The president described the battle and how Roberts had been forcibly ejected from an MH-47 helicopter after it was hit by rocket-propelled grenade fire. When Slabinski received word that Roberts might still be alive, he was confronted with a dilemma.
“The team faced a choice: to wait for reinforcements and pretty much safety, or to return immediately to the enemy stronghold in the hope of saving Neil’s life,” Trump said. “They would be outmanned, outgunned and fighting uphill on a steep icy mountain, and every soldier knows you don’t want to fight uphill.”
Still, Trump said, the necessary choice was clear.
“The odds were not good, but Britt and his team didn’t hesitate for a moment,” he said.
Near the end of his remarks, Trump recognized those killed in the battle: Roberts; Air Force Tech. Sgt. John Chapman; Senior Airman Jason Cunningham; Army Cpl. Matthew Commons; Sgt. Bradley Crose; Spc. Marc Anderson; and Sgt. Phillip Svitak.
He applauded for several seconds as family members of the fallen service members stood.
Trump noted that Slabinski wanted the medal to recognize not only himself, but his whole team.
“We are free because warriors like you are willing to give their sweat, their blood and, if need be, their lives for our nation,” Trump said. “Britt, we salute you. We thank God for making you a Navy SEAL.”
I often wonder where America gets these heroes. Certainly these are special people with special qualities. And if you ask them, they will tell you they are just doing their jobs.
But somewhere deep inside men like Master Chief Slabinski there is something extra, something undefinable. Whatever it is, it’s something the rest of us don’t have.
Slabinski is the 15th serviceman to receive the Medal of Honor for heroic actions during the War in Afghanistan.