Senior Chief Britt Kelly Slabinski is a retired member of the United States Navy who earned a Medal of Honor for his courageous action during Operation Enduring Freedom. He played an important role in the Battle of Takur Ghar, which received widespread media coverage in May 2002. He also participated in the rescue mission to recover Army PFC Jessica Lynch.
Senior Chief Slabinski was born in Northhampton, Massachusetts, on December 1, 1969. He learned responsibility and teamwork at a young age, becoming an Eagle Scout as a teenager. After completing high school, Slabinski enlisted in the United States Navy.
After an impressive performance at boot camp, he trained to become a radioman. But this was just the beginning of his military journey. He later studied underwater demolition and eventually qualified as a SEAL. In his twenty-six years of service, Slabinski deployed fifteen times, serving in both Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
Medal of Honor Action
On March 4, 2002, the drama of life and death unfolds as Slabinski is deployed to the enemy's stronghold in southeastern Afghanistan. The joint task force plans to land on a mountain by helicopter, but before they can even make a safe landing, enemy combatants spot the aircraft and launch rocket-propelled grenades, causing the helicopter to rock violently at 10,000 feet.
On March 4, 2002, the life-and-death drama began. Slabinski deployed to the heart of enemy territory in southeastern Afghanistan. There, a joint task force planned to land on a mountain via helicopter, but before they could even touch down, enemy combatants spotted the aircraft and fired rocket-propelled grenades. Tragically, one service member fell from the helicopter.
But Slabinski wasn't about to abandon a fellow service member. He sprang into action, hurtling through deep snow to search for the fallen comrade. With his team at his side, Slabinski bravely charged ahead, facing enemy fire from all sides as he scaled the mountain. As more and more of his comrades were hit, Slabinski realized that a retreat was necessary. He directed his team to a safer location, secured air support, and radioed for backup.
However, the enemy was relentless, discovering their new location and opening fire again. With no regard for his own safety, Slabinski repeatedly crossed through enemy fire, risking his life to retrieve the casualties, one by one. As dawn broke, a rescue team finally arrived to extract Slabinski and the remaining survivors.
It was only thanks to Chief Slabinski's unwavering bravery that day that the loss of life was limited. Had it not been for his fearless leadership and selflessness, the outcome could have been much different.
Chief Slabinski continued to serve in the U.S. Navy until 2014. President Donald Trump presented him with his Medal of Honor on May 24, 2018. In addition to earning the Medal of Honor, Slabinski has earned the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, and the Bronze Star V.