Friends & Family,
As you may or may not know, the Special Operations community lost a good friend and warrior over 10 years ago. Tech. Sgt. John A. Chapman (Chappy) was on a reconnaissance mission in northeastern Afghanistan on March 4, 2002. The Chinook helicopter used for infiltration came under heavy enemy fire, forcing it to crash land. After landing, Chappy called in close-air support to cover the exposed team and to help search for a team member who had fallen out of the helicopter. Searching for the missing man, he killed two of the enemy and then came upon a dug-in machine gun nest which fired on the rescue team from three sides; Chappy fired back at close range until multiple wounds took his life. For his actions at “Robert’s Ridge,” Chappy was posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross on Jan. 10, 2003. A U.S. Navy cargo ship was named in honor of him on April 8, 2005.
It was my absolute honor to have worked side-by-side with Chappy and have long thought of ways to pay tribute to my friend and teammate. MSgt Jim Cote, just a few short months after John’s death, ran the Massanutten Mountain Trail 100 (MMT 100) to help raise 10’s of thousands of dollars for Val, Madison and Brianna. Additionally, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation helped to offset many of the costs associated with such a tragic event. SOWF has also established scholarship funds for the girls. For this and many other reasons I have decided to commemorate the 10th anniversary of my friend’s death by competing in and completing the MMT 100, in 2012. In the footsteps of Jim Cote and for the purpose of raising and donating as much money as possible for the SOWF, in John’s name, I begin training for this monumental event.
I truly hope that all of you can find it in your hearts, in these trying times, to give just a little to help the foundation continue to do great things for deserving warriors and their families.
Thank you and God Bless America
David R. Gendron, MSgt (Ret.)
The Special Operations Warrior Foundation mission is devoted to providing a college education to every child who has lost a parent while serving in Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps Special Operations during an operational or training mission. The forces covered by the Foundation are some 50,000 military special operations and support personnel stationed in units throughout the United States and overseas bases.
The Warrior Foundation is currently committed to providing scholarship grants, not loans, to more than 760 children. These children survive over 600 Special Operations personnel who gave their lives in patriotic service to their country, including those who died fighting our nation's war against terrorism as part of "Operation Enduring Freedom" in Afghanistan and the Philippines as well as "Operation Iraqi Freedom." To date, 143 children of fallen special operations warriors have graduated from college.
The Special Operations Warrior Foundation also provides immediate financial assistance to special operations personnel severely wounded in the global war on terror. Once notified of a special operations soldier, airman, sailor or Marine hospitalized with a severe injury, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation immediately sends funds to the service member (or his/her designated recipient) so the family and loved ones can immediately travel to be bedside.
To date, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation has provided over $700,000 to wounded special operations personnel.