Operation anaconda -senior airman jason d. cunningham was one of the seven killed. cunningham earned the air force cross, presented
posthumously, for giving his life heroically. despite mortal wounds, he saved 10 people, and made it possible for seven others who were killed to come home.
secretary of the air force posthumously awarded the air force cross to technical sergeant john a. chapman (figure 2.40). it was only the third time since the end of the vietnam conflict that an enlisted airman received the air force cross, and the second air force cross presented to one of the enlisted airmen who died in during the 17-hour ordeal atop takur ghar mountain, afghanistan. chapmans helicopter came under enemy fire, causing a navy seal to fall out of an mh-47 helicopter during an insertion. the helicopter landed 4.5 miles away from where the seal was killed. once on the ground, chapman provided directions to another helicopter to pick them up. chapman killed two enemy soldiers and, without regard for his own life,advanced toward a dug-in machinegun nest. the team came under fire from three directions. chapman exchanged fire from minimum personal cover and succumbed to multiple wounds. his engagement and destruction of the first enemy position and advancement to the second enabled his team to move to cover and break enemy contact. he is credited with saving the lives of the entire rescue team