Britt Slabinski, Medal of Honor Recipient, May 24, 2018
On May 24, 2018, Master Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Britt Slabinski was awarded the Nation’s highest and most prestigious military decoration, the Medal of Honor. The retired United States Navy Seal was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Takur Ghar in Afghanistan on March 4, 2002.
Slabinski found pride in service at an early age, earning the rank of Eagle Scout by 14 and enlisting in the U.S. Navy immediately after high school graduation. He was later accepted into SEAL training, from which he graduated in 1990. His operational assignments and service experience include:
- SEAL Team FOUR
- Naval Special Warfare Development Group
- Command Master Chief of Naval Special Warfare Tactical Development and Evaluation Squadron TWO
- Senior Enlisted Advisor of the Joint Special Operations Command, Washington, DC
- Command Master Chief, Naval Special Warfare Group TWO
- Director of Naval Special Warfare Safety Assurance and Analysis Program
During his extensive military career, Slabinksi completed nine overseas deployments and 15 combat deployments.
Heroic Actions at Battle of Takur Ghar
Six months after September 11, 2001, Senior Chief (SEAL) Britt Slabiniski and his team took part in Operation Anaconda in a remote part of Afghanistan.
“And this thought kept coming back to me, and it’s the first line of the Boy Scout Oath … ‘On my honor, I will do my best,’” said Slabinski, “The only thing that is in the back of my mind is, ‘On my honor, I will do my best, On my honor, I will do my best, On my honor, I will do my best.’
As Slabinski and his team moved into position near an isolated location at the top of the mountain Takur Ghar, their helicopter was hit with enemy fire. Petty Officer Neil C. Roberts fell from the helicopter into enemy territory and the helicopter crash-landed in the valley below. Slabinski made an immediate decision to go back up the mountain to rescue Roberts. In extreme conditions, low temperatures, and surrounded by the enemy, Slabinski charged up the mountain, leading his team on a rescue mission.
“I knew going back up there was going to be a one-way trip for me.” – Britt Slabinski, Medal of Honor recipient
Heavy fire was coming from three bunker positions and bullets were flying. With the use of many grenades, grenade launchers, machine guns, and other resources, Slabinski minimized the enemy fire and the team maneuvered into a defensible position down the steep mountainside. The fight continued through the night and into the next day as Slabinski carried a wounded teammate through the snow and helped to stabilize other casualties before the team could be extracted almost a full 24 hours later.
Medal of Honor Citation
President Donald Trump Retired awarded Master Chief Petty Officer Britt Slabinski in a ceremony at the White House on March 24, 2018. His full Medal of Honor citation is below:
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. 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. 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.