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Category Archives: Medal of Honor

Medal of Honor recipient, Vietnam vet SgtMaj John Canley passes away

The Marine Corps announces the passing of Medal of Honor recipient retired Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley on May 11 after a decades long battle with cancer. Sgt. Maj. Canley passed away in Bend, Oregon, with his family at his bedside. Press Operations

Under Secretary Modly’s Remarks at Master Chief Slabinski’s Induction into Pentagon Hall of Heroes

The following are Under Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly’s remarks for Medal of Honor recipient Master Chief Britt Slabinski’s induction into Pentagon Hall of Heroes May 25.

Deputy Secretary Shanahan, Adm. Richardson, Dana, Master Chief of the Navy Giordano, Christina, Bryce, John, Meghan, military service members who are gathered here today, DoD civilians, families, friends: Good afternoon.

What better time or place to acknowledge and decorate our nation’s finest virtues in the person of Master Chief Slabinski than here and now, at the start of our Memorial Day holiday.

Everyone should have the honor of shaking the hands of a veteran on this day, but today we have the incredible honor of shaking the hand of a certified hero and embracing his family. It’s an honor that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Yes, we are gathered here to induct Master Chief Slabinski into the Hall of Heroes. It is now, as Secretary Shanahan and others have already mentioned, over 16 years since those acts of valor occurred that we recognize today.

WASHINGTON (May 25, 2016) Under Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly and retired Master Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Britt Slabinski hold Slabinski’s Hall of Heroes plaque during the Hall of Heroes induction ceremony. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Paul L. Archer/Released)
WASHINGTON (May 25, 2016) Under Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly and retired Master Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Britt Slabinski hold Slabinski’s Hall of Heroes plaque during the Hall of Heroes induction ceremony. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Paul L. Archer/Released)


But if time has passed, it has not dimmed the bright glow of Master Chief Slabinski’s bravery. Nor, moreover, could we ever gather the full breadth of our nation’s gratitude towards him and his teammates.

Because just as we rightfully honor Master Chief Slabinski in this hall, we also pay tribute to an entire generation of leaders who have borne these battles.

For their families, we honor the bitter anguish of long separation. On behalf of far too many, we mourn heartbreaking, unimaginable loss.

And for almost 17 years now, we give thanks for their combined, unrelenting sacrifices.

Let us never forget what Master Chief Slabinski and his teammates did, half a globe away; where evil was allowed to metastasize, and bring horror to our own shores.

It was in this unchosen place where a chosen few drew a bright line in the mountains, and in sand, far from both our homes and theirs – and held that line to defend us, and all those threatened by this new tyranny of violence and depravity.

Indeed, if we have enjoyed peace here at home after 9/11, it is a peace that could only be earned through the strength and fortitude of men and women just like him and his team: those who ran towards the fight, who saw through the darkness, who loved each other, and this country, so much that they would do anything to save each other, no matter the odds.

We think back to the unthinkable events of the day when Master Chief Slabinski and his comrades drew upon immense courage – and to our brother service members stranded against overwhelming and fearful odds.


We try to imagine Master Chief Slabinski wading through waist-deep snow with his team, carrying his brother on his shoulder after an exhausting firefight, exceeding what we could reasonably expect of a Sailor, or a Soldier, or a Marine, or an Airman; even though what he did may be what we unreasonably expect of a hero.

And through it all, we see something we believe in, but never take for granted, about our service members – something that may be foreign or unthinkable to many people, but something we know unites those we ask to go into harm’s way on our behalf. It is the spirit of selflessness, like so many others recognized in this Hall, a singular spirit that unites our Armed Forces: serving a cause greater than self, and driven to prove worthy of that cause.

Yet Master Chief Slabinski would be the first to say that those snow-covered mountains, tangled rat lines, and poppy-covered fields of Afghanistan were, for Americans and our partners, once again, a place where uncommon valor was a common virtue – a virtue demonstrated on a daily basis in stories like this, but that may never get told.

He will repeatedly demur that this award could never be about him alone, that we serve and succeed and, yes love, as teams, as families. And there is an abiding lesson in that for all of us, one which Master Chief and his team reminded us of by their bravery.

That their greatness is truly, right here, within each member of our Armed Forces; borne by the unending faith of mothers and fathers who raise such daughters and sons, strong enough to serve, and strong enough to save.

I am honored to be in the same room with you, Master Chief Slabinski, and to your family, thank you for allowing our nation to benefit from his courage and commitment.

On behalf of the Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer, and the uniformed and civilian women and men of your Navy and Marine Corps team, I offer the deepest respect a nation can bestow towards such good and faithful servants as you, Christina, Bryce, John, and Meghan. Thank you for the example you set for future generations of warriors, and warrior families – and for our Nation.

May God Bless you, and may God Bless all those we send into harm’s way on the land, sea, and air every day, to keep us safe, and free.

Thank you.

WASHINGTON, (May 25, 2018) Medal of Honor recipient retired Master Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Britt Slabinski stands on the stage during his induction ceremony into the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon Auditorium. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Paul L. Archer/Released)
WASHINGTON, (May 25, 2018) Medal of Honor recipient retired Master Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Britt Slabinski stands on the stage during his induction ceremony into the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon Auditorium. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Paul L. Archer/Released) U.S. Navy

Faces of the Fleet

“Faces of the Fleet” is a collection of images of Sailors serving our country in the greatest and most technologically advanced Navy in the world. These fine men and women are leading from the deck plates and completing missions around the globe. This is your fleet and these are your Sailors! GO NAVY!

President Donald J. Trump presents the Medal of Honor to retired Master Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Britt Slabinski during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C. Slabinski received the Medal of Honor for his actions during Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan in March 2002. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Raymond D. Diaz III/Released)
U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen from the Class of 2018 toss their covers in the air during the graduation and commissioning ceremony at Navy/Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Elliott Fabrizio/Released)
Airman Apprentice Hunter Horton-Harmash mans the bell during the Hindenburg Memorial Ceremony at Joint Base McGuire-Dix in Lakehurst, N.J. The bell was rung after the names of the crew and passengers of the Hindenburg were read. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Stanley Moy/Released)
Rear Adm. Gregory Fenton, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Japan, poses with the Japanese wreath presenters after a memorial service at Gyokusenji Temple in remembrance of U.S. service members whose remains rest at the temple. (U.S. Navy photo by Daniel A. Taylor/Released)
Allison Galdorisi, from Staten Island, takes a selfie with members of the U.S. Fleet Forces Band. The band performed during the Navy aviation event at Miller Field in Staten Island during Fleet Week New York. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gulianna Dunn/Released)
Sailors assigned to the “Fighting Checkmates” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 211 move ordnance on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Thomas Gooley/Released)
Hospitalman Apprentice Ana Sierra-Crispin checks a six-year-old patient’s blood pressure at Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s pediatrics clinic. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel/Released)
Capt. Jon Duffy, right, commodore of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, welcomes Cmdr. Jennifer Pontius, commanding officer of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69), upon the ship’s arrival to the Yokosuka, Japan, to join the U.S. 7th Fleet as part of DESRON-15. Milius increases Task Force 70’s ability to promote security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region as one of the most capable ships in the Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Codie L. Soule/Released)
Quartermaster 2nd Class Frederick Penlebury, assigned to Coastal Riverine Squadron (CRS) 3, mans the M240 machine gun aboard a Mark VI patrol boat during a final evaluation problem conducted by Coastal Riverine Group (CRG) 1’s Training and Evaluation Unit. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Boatswain’s Mate Nelson Doromal Jr./Released)

Sailors proudly serve around the world in a variety of ways. Tell us which photo grabs your interest. ltall

The White House Medal of Honor Ceremony for Retired Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Britt Slabinski

Welcome to Navy Live blog coverage of The White House Medal of Honor ceremony, May 24, for retired Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Britt Slabinski.

Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL), Retired, Britt Slabinski

President Donald J. Trump will award the Medal of Honor to Master Chief Slabinski for his actions while leading a team under heavy effective enemy fire in an attempt to rescue teammate Petty Officer First Class Neil Roberts during Operation Anaconda in 2002. Slabinski’s selfless actions throughout the 14-hour battle constituted gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.

Live video from The White House is scheduled to begin 2:30 p.m. EDT.


In the early morning of March 4, 2002, then-Senior Chief Slabinski led a reconnaissance team to its assigned area atop Takur Ghar, a 10,000-foot snow-covered mountain in Afghanistan. An enemy rocket-propelled grenade attack on the insertion helicopter caused Petty Officer Neil Roberts to fall onto the enemy-infested mountaintop below, and forced the damaged helicopter to crash land in the valley below. Fully aware of the risks, a numerically superior and well-entrenched enemy force, and approaching daylight, without hesitation Slabinski made the selfless and heroic decision to lead the remainder of his element on an immediate and daring rescue back to the mountaintop. His team, despite heavy incoming enemy fire, was subsequently successfully inserted on top of Takur Ghar. Slabinski, without regard for his own life, charged directly toward the enemy strongpoint. He and a teammate fearlessly assaulted and cleared one enemy bunker at close range. The enemy then unleashed a murderous hail of machine gun fire from a second hardened position 20 meters away. Slabinski exposed himself to enemy fire on three sides, then moved forward to silence the second position. With bullets piercing his clothing, he repeatedly charged into deadly fire to personally engage the enemy bunker with direct rifle fire, hand grenades and a grenade launcher on the surrounding enemy positions. Facing mounting casualties and low on ammunition, the situation became untenable. Slabinski skillfully maneuvered his team across open terrain, directing them out of effective enemy fire over the mountainside.

Slabinski maneuvered his team to a more defensible position, directed danger-close air support on the enemy, requested reinforcements, and directed the medical care of his rapidly deteriorating wounded teammates, all while continuing to defend his position. When approaching daylight and accurate enemy mortar fire forced the team to maneuver further down the sheer mountainside, Slabinski carried a seriously wounded teammate through waist-deep snow, and led an arduous trek across precipitous terrain while calling in fires on enemies engaging the team from the surrounding ridges. Throughout the next 14 hours, he stabilized the casualties and continued the fight against the enemy until the mountain top could be secured and his team was extracted. His dedication, disregard for his own personal safety and tactical leadership make Master Chief Slabinski unquestionably deserving of this honor.

He is only the 12th living service member to be awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery displayed in Afghanistan. The Medal of Honor is an upgrade of the Navy Cross he was previously awarded for these actions.

Former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter directed the military departments to review all Service Cross and Silver Star recommendations for actions since Sept. 11, 2001, to ensure service members who performed valorously were appropriately recognized.

Slabinski, a native of Northampton, Massachusetts, joined the Navy in September 1988. After graduating from Radioman Class “A” School in San Diego, California, he completed the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL course in January 1990. He retired in June 2014 as the director of Naval Special Warfare Safety Assurance and Analysis Program after more than 25 years of service.

Throughout his career, Master Chief Slabinski was assigned to both West and East Coast SEAL teams and completed nine overseas deployments and 15 combat tours.

Slabinski has previously been awarded the Navy Cross; the Navy and Marine Corps Medal; five Bronze Star Medals with Combat “V” device; two Combat Action Ribbons; two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals; the Defense Meritorious Service Medal; the Meritorious Service Medal; the Joint Service Commendation Medal; the Joint Service Achievement Medal; and eight Good Conduct Medals.

The Medal of Honor is awarded to members of the Armed Forces who distinguish themselves conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of their own lives above and beyond the call of duty while:

  • engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;
  • engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
  • serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

Follow the conversation on social media using #MedalOfHonor. U.S. Navy