Profiles Of Valor: Britt Slabinski

This Medal Of Honor Belongs To The 7 Americans Killed In Action On That Mountain Top

  • Friday, February 16, 2024

Recently, Medal of Honor recipient and former Navy SEAL Britt Slabinski and his Gold Star Wife, Christina, were hosted by the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center. Christina is the founder of All in All the Time, a foundation supporting the emergency needs of Naval Special Warfare families.

Britt is an Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran, and after completing his military service is now the president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. For membership, all you need is a Medal of Honor.

He is a native of Northampton, Ma. Given my long involvement with Scouting and being the father of two Eagle Scouts, I note that Britt earned his Eagle Scout rank at age 14 — probably a good indicator of his drive and his future. After graduating high school in 1988, he enlisted in the Navy and attended boot camp in Orlando, Fl.

His first order was to complete the Radioman Class “A” School in San Diego, Ca., where he learned the basics of naval communications, graduating in 1989. From there, he started down a path to complete a life-long goal to become a Navy SEAL. He qualified for basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training (BUD/S) at Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, Ca., graduating in 1990 with BUD/S Class 164. After SEAL Tactical Training and completion of the requisite six-month probationary period, he received the Navy Enlisted Classification 5326 as a Combatant Swimmer (SEAL).

His operational assignments include SEAL Team FOUR (1990-1993); Naval Special Warfare Development Group (1993-2006); and Command Master Chief of Naval Special Warfare Tactical Development and Evaluation Squadron TWO (2006-2008). From 2008 to 2010, he was the Senior Enlisted Advisor for Joint Special Operations Command in Washington, DC, and then Command Master Chief, Naval Special Warfare Group TWO (2010-2012). He then served as Director of Naval Special Warfare Safety Assurance and Analysis Program before his retirement in 2014 after 25 years of service.

During his career as a SEAL, he was a Naval Special Warfare Scout Sniper and Military Free Fall Parachute Jump Master. He completed (survived) 24 deployments, including 15 combat deployments in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

He was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Donald Trump in May 2018 for actions on March 4, 2002, in Afghanistan during the Battle of Takur Ghar. That battle is considered by DoD as U.S. special operators’ most intense firefight since Mogadishu in 1993. Seven Americans were killed and 12 wounded, and U.S. Forces lost two MH-47 Chinooks.

One other American, Air Force Technical Sgt. John Chapman, received the Medal of Honor posthumously for actions during the battle. He was the first Airman to receive the award since Vietnam.

Slabinski’s Medal of Honor citation notes, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while assigned to a Joint Task Force in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.”

It continues: In the early morning of 4 March 2002, Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Slabinski led a reconnaissance team to its assigned area atop a 10,000-foot snow-covered mountain. Their insertion helicopter was suddenly riddled with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire from previously undetected enemy positions. The crippled helicopter lurched violently and ejected one teammate onto the mountain before the pilots were forced to crash land in the valley far below. Senior Chief Slabinski boldly rallied his five remaining team members and marshalled supporting assets for an assault to rescue their stranded teammate. During reinsertion the team came under fire from three directions, and one teammate started moving uphill toward an enemy strongpoint. Without regard for his own safety, Senior Chief Slabinski charged directly toward enemy fire to join his teammate. Together, they fearlessly assaulted and cleared the first bunker they encountered. The enemy then unleashed a hail of machine gun fire from a second hardened position only twenty meters away. Senior Chief Slabinski repeatedly exposed himself to deadly fire to personally engage the second enemy bunker and orient his team’s fires in the furious, close-quarters firefight. Proximity made air support impossible, and after several teammates became casualties, the situation became untenable. Senior Chief Slabinski maneuvered his team to a more defensible position, directed air strikes in very close proximity to his team’s position, and requested reinforcements. As daylight approached, accurate enemy mortar fire forced the team further down the sheer mountainside. Senior Chief Slabinski carried a seriously wounded teammate through deep snow and led a difficult trek across precipitous terrain while calling in fire on the enemy, which was engaging the team from the surrounding ridges. Throughout the next 14 hours, Senior Chief Slabinski stabilized the casualties and continued the fight against the enemy until the hill was secured and his team was extracted.

His citation concludes, “By his undaunted courage, bold initiative, leadership, and devotion to duty, Senior Chief Slabinski reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

At the ceremony, Britt declared: “This Medal of Honor belongs to the seven Americans killed in action on that mountaintop: Neil, John, Phil, Marc, Matt, Brad, and Jason. They gave all for all of us. This honor is yours, for you are the true heroes.”

Slabinski’s additional military decorations include the Navy Cross, Navy/Marine Corps Medal; Bronze Star with Valor (five awards); Combat Action Ribbon (two awards); Defense Meritorious Service Medal (two awards); Meritorious Service Medal (two awards); Joint Service Commendation Medal (two awards); Joint Service Achievement Medal; Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards); Good Conduct Medal (eight awards); and numerous other personal and unit awards and decorations.

Notably, in addition to this action, Slabinski also participated in the high-profile SEAL rescue mission to recover Army PFC Jessica Lynch.

Britt Kelly Slabinski: Your example of valor — a humble American Patriot defending your fellow warriors and Liberty for all — above and beyond the call of duty, and in disregard for the peril to your own life, is eternal. “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

(Join us in prayer for our nation’s Military Patriots, Veterans, First Responders, and their families. Please consider a designated gift to support the National Medal of Honor Sustaining Fund through Patriot Foundation Trust (https://patriotfoundationtrust.org), or make a check payable to NMoH Sustaining Fund and mail to: Patriot Foundation Trust, PO Box 407, Chattanooga, TN 37401-0407. Visit the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center at Aquarium Plaza. (https://www.MOHHC.org))

Mark Caldwell


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