War on Terror Medal of Honor Recipients
Today we remember and honor the 2,977 innocent people who were killed 19 years ago. We remember their lives as more than just how they ended, through memories that are cherished by their family and friends each day. We encourage you to take a moment to read the names and learn stories of the women, men and children who were killed on September 11, 2001.
In response to the September 11, 2001 attacks, the War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001. Since that day, 2.77 million service members have served our country in at least one deployment across the world. Twenty five of those service members have been awarded the Medal of Honor for their heroic actions and service above self during the Global War on Terror. Nine of those 25 gave the ultimate sacrifice and were awarded posthumously. Below we highlight each of those twenty recipients, listed in order of their actions in combat. Click through to read their citations and learn more about their courage and selfless acts in protection of us and our country.
John Chapman, Air Force, Technical Sergeant
Air Force Technical Sergeant John Chapman received the Medal of Honor in 2018. He was recognized for his actions on top of a snowy mountain in Afghanistan on March 4, 2002. Chapman and team voluntarily went into the heart of a known enemy stronghold to rescue a teammate. He died during the action.
Britt Slabinski, Navy, Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator
On March 4, 2002 Navy Senior Chief Britt Slabinski rallied his team and marshalled supporting assets for an assault to rescue their stranded teammate during a mission in Afghanistan. Slabinski received his Medal of Honor in 2018.
Paul R. Smith, Army, Sergeant First Class
Medal of Honor recipient Army Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith was killed in action on April 4, 2003. On deployment in Iraq, he held the enemy at bay by throwing grenades and returning fire, allowing his wounded teammates to be carried out and eliminating as many as 50 enemy soldiers. Smith was awarded his Medal of Honor in 2005.
Jason Dunham, Marine Corps, Corporal
While deploy to Iraq on April 14, 2004, Marine Corps Corporal Jason Dunham covered a grenade with his helmet and body to protect fellow Marines. His selfless bravery cost him his life but saved the lives of at least two other Marines. His parents were presented his Medal of Honor in 2007.
David Bellavia, Army, Staff Sergeant
In Iraq during Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah on November 10, 2004, Army Staff Sergeant David Bellavia cleared an entire enemy-filled house in order to save his platoon. For his heroism, he was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2019. Bellavia is the first living recipient from the War with Iraq.
Michael P. Murphy, Navy, Lieutenant
On June 28, 2005, Navy Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy led a reconnaissance team in a fight against a mass of enemy troops in Afghanistan. Murphy exposed himself to hostile fire in order to call in help, sacrificing his life for others. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2007 for his courage and selflessness.
Jared C. Monti, Army, Staff Sergeant
On June 21, 2006 in Afghanistan, Army Staff Sergeant Jared C. Monti was killed in action while trying to rescue a wounded soldier from intense enemy fire. In 2009, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions.
Michael A. Monsoor, Navy, Master-at-Arms Second Class
On September 29, 2006 while fighting in Iraq, Medal of Honor recipient Navy Master-at-Arms Second Class Michael A. Monsoor saved the lives of his fellow Navy SEALs at the cost of his own by diving on a grenade to protect them. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2006.
Ross A. McGinnis, Army, Specialist
Army Specialist Ross A. McGinnis was killed in action in Iraq on December 4, 2006. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for saving the lives of four soldiers by diving on a grenade that was thrown into his vehicle. His Medal of Honor was presented to his parents in 2008.
Travis Atkins, Army, Staff Sergeant
While in Iraq on June 1, 2007, Army Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins engaged in hand-to-hand combat with an insurgent wearing a suicide-vest. Unable to prevent the detonation, Atkins tackled the insurgent and shielded his comrades from the explosion and saved three lives at the cost of his own. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2019.
Salvatore Giunta, Army, Staff Sergeant
Army Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta risked his life to save a wounded soldier from being captured in Afghanistan on October 25, 2007. He was the first living Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War and received the Medal of Honor in 2010.
Kyle White, Army, Sergeant
Army Sergeant Kyle White repeatedly risked his life to provide lifesaving medical aid to wounded soldiers and radioed in to enable counterattacks and rescue efforts on November 9, 2007. His actioned earned him a Medal of Honor presented to him in 2014.
Robert James Miller, Army, Staff Sergeant
In Afghanistan on January 25, 2008, Army Staff Sgt Robert J. Miller was killed in action as he drew fire from over one hundred enemy fighters, allowing his teammates to reach cover. His Medal of Honor was awarded in 2010.
Ronald J. Shurer II, Army, Staff Sergeant
Shurer risked his life multiple times to save injured soldiers, fighting his way across firestorms of bullets, scaling up the side of the mountain and even using his own body to shield the injured from fire and debris. In the process, Shurer was hit by sniper fire in the helmet and arm. For this heroism in Afghanistan, Shurer received the Medal of Honor in 2018.
Matthew Williams, Army, Sergeant
On April 6, 2008 Army Sergeant Matthew Williams saved numerous lives during mountain fight in Afghanistan’s Shok Valley. His actions not only saved the lives of four critically wounded soldiers, he also prevented a part of the assault force from being overrun. Williams received the Medal of Honor in 2019.
Leroy Petry, Army, Sergeant First Class
In Afghanistan on May 26, 2008, Army Sergeant First Class Leroy Petry was shot through both of his legs, but still managed to save his fellow Rangers by picking up and throwing a live grenade. The exploded as Petry threw it which destroyed his right hand. Petry survived, and received the Medal of Honor in 2011.
Ryan M. Pitts, Army, Sergeant
Though gravely injured and under fire, Army Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts radioed reports and information that allowed for indirect fire on an enemy that was close enough for him to hear their voices in Afghanistan on July 13, 2008. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2014.
William D. Swenson, Army, Captain
Risking his own life while under enemy fire, on September 8, 2009, Army Captain William D. Swenson rescued and recovered fallen comrades during the Battle of Ganjgal in Afghanistan. He repeatedly exposed himself to danger in order to rescue the wounded and the fallen. He received his Medal of Honor in 2013.
Ty Carter, Army, Staff Sergeant
Army Staff Sgt Ty Carter repeatedly risked his life under enemy fire in Afghanistan during the Battle of Kamdesh. Carter administered life-extending first aid, obtained ammunition, and helped carry wounded to aid station on October 3, 2009 and was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2013.
Clinton Romesha, Army, Staff Sergeant
Army Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha risked his life to save soldiers by organizing and repelling an attack against Taliban forces during the Battle of Kamdesh. For these heroic actions on October 3, 2009, he was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2013.
Dakota Meyer, Marine Corps, Corporal
Marine Corps Sergeant Dakota Meyer was awarded the Medal of Honor when he defied orders and rescued friendly Afghan soldiers and multiple Americans during the Battle of Ganjgal in Afghanistan on September 8, 2009. He was warded the Medal of Honor in 2011.
Kyle Carpenter, Marine Corps, Lance Corporal
Marine Corps Lance Corporal Kyle Carpenter risked his life in Afghanistan on November 21, 2010, by diving toward a grenade to save a fellow Marine while they were under attack and shielded his comrade from the blast with his body. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2014.
Florent Groberg, Army, Captain
On August 8, 2012, Captain Florent Groberg ran toward a suicide bomber, grabbed him and shoved him out of the way, preventing numerous casualties and thwarting an attack on several senior leaders. For this heroism in Afghanistan, Groberg received the Medal of Honor in 2015.
Edward Byers, Navy, Chief
Navy Chief Edward Byers, courageously helped to rescue an American civilian being held hostage in Afghanistan on December 8, 2012. His actions saved the lives of the hostage and several of his comrades. Byers received the Medal of Honor in 2016.
Thomas Payne, Army, Sergeant First Class
In Iraq, on October 22, 2015 Army Sergeant First Class Thomas Payne engaged in a prisoner rescue in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Payne helped save pinned down Kurdish commandos and twice entered a damaged, burning building to ensure every hostage was freed. For his heroism, Payne received the Medal of Honor in 2020. Payne is the first person to receive the Medal of Honor in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS).