John “Chappy” Chapman was a natural leader and a stellar athlete. While the world knows him as a Medal of Honor recipient who gave his life to protect his fellow soldiers, the fans in Windsor Locks remember him as a champion diver and a force to be reckoned with on the soccer field. His skill, and charisma, led the high school soccer team to the Central Valley League Championship. John had an uncanny ability to read the game and enjoyed setting up a score more than scoring himself.
John’s excellence in diving earned him winning spots in the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conferences in the 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1983 State Championships, winning the Class S event in 1982 and 1983 and placing second in the State Open in 1983. After high school John attended the University of Connecticut and was on the diving team for one year before changing direction and entering the United States Air Force.
Rising quickly through the ranks to Technical Sergeant John’s tenacity was rewarded when he became a Combat Controller, the world’s most lethal fighters. On March 4, 2002 John was killed in action in after saving his SEAL team and then laying down suppressive fire to protect a helicopter full of Army Rangers.
John has a Navy ship named after him, the MV TSgt John A Chapman and was awarded the Air Force Cross which was posthumously upgraded to the Medal of Honor on August 22, 2018.
John’s life and valiant actions were memorialized as the name TSgt John A Chapman was carved onto the Air Force Memorial in Washington, DC. He was also posthumously promoted to the rank of Master Sergeant at that same ceremony. Windsor Locks, a town of heroes and champions, has never been so valiantly represented.
John was the first Airman since Vietnam to be posthumously awarded The Medal of Honor. Windsor Locks also unveiled a Medal of Honor monument for John in September 2018.
Previously John has been honored with the renaming of the road leading into Veteran’s Memorial Park off Southwest Avenue in Windsor Locks to TSgt John A. Chapman Way and a monument near the flag pole near the sports fields and tennis court at Windsor Locks High School.
John’s Sister, Lori Chapman Longfritz, WLAHOF inductee 2006, has co-authored a book about her brother’s ordeal in Afghanistan where John paid the ultimate sacrifice while saving 23 of his fellow comrades in arms. Look for her book, Alone at Dawn: Medal of Honor Recipient John Chapman and the Untold Story of the World’s Deadliest Special Operations Force.
John’s quote in his high school yearbook was, “Give of yourself before taking of someone else”. Indeed the credo defined his life.
Chappy was the ultimate team member, the man you wanted on your team whether it was on the playing field or the battlefield. Loyalty, dedication, and courage, thy face is John Allan Chapman.