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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

MV TSgt. John A. Chapman (AK-323)
MV Merlin (AK-323)
MV American Merlin (AK-9302)

Container Roll-on/Roll-off Ship Logistics Prepositioning Ship:
  • Built in 1978 in France as MV CGM Utirillo
  • Purchased in 1992 by American Automar, re-flagged US and renamed MV American Merlin
  • Acquired by the US Navy Military Sealift Command (MSC) under long term lease
  • MV American Merlin (AK-9302) was operated for MSC as part of the Prepositioning Program until 2001
  • MV American Merlin was one of the Military Sealift Command's seven Container Ships and was part of the 36 ships in the Prepositioning Program
  • MV American Merlin was assigned to Maritime Prepositioning Program Squadron Two and operated out of Diego Garcia
  • Returned to her owners after completion of her MSC charter in late 2001
  • Acquired by Sealift Inc and renamed MV Merlin
  • Reacquired by MSC under long term contract in 2003
  • MV Merlin (AK-323) is operated and maintained by Sealift Inc and is one of MSC's seventeen Roll-on/Roll-off container ships of the 36 ship Prepositioning Program
  • MV Merlin (AK-323) is assigned to Maritime Prepositioning Ship Squadron One and is assigned to the European area
  • Renamed MV TSgt. John A. Chapman (AK-323), 8 April 2005
    Displacement 26,438 t.(lt), 40,357 t.(fl)
    Length 670'
    Beam 87'
    Draft 34' (max)
    Speed 16 kts.
    Cargo Capacity 143,000 sq ft., 1,063 20-ft containers.
    Armament none
    Complement 19 Civilian Mariners
    Propulsion 2 SEMT-Pielstick 18 PC2.5 V diesels; 23,400 hp; 1 shaft; bow thruster

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    MV TSgt. John A. Chapman (AK-323) - MSC Charter
    Merlin 210k
    Technical Sergeant John A. Chapman, from the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, was killed March 4, 2002, while fighting against the Taliban during Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan. He was posthumously decorated with the nationís highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor.

    The President of the United States Takes Pride in Presenting The Medal of Honor (Posthumously)

    To: John Chapman T/Sergeant, U.S. Air Force
    For Services as Set Forth in the Following

    Technical Sergeant John A. Chapman distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism as an Air Force Special Tactics Combat Controller, attached to a Navy Sea, Air, and Land (SEAL) Team conducting reconnaissance operations in Takur Ghar, Afghanistan, on March 4, 2002. During insertion, the teamís helicopter was ambushed causing a teammate to fall into an entrenched group of enemy combatants below. Sergeant Chapman and the team voluntarily reinserted onto the snow-capped mountain, into the heart of a known enemy stronghold to rescue one of their own. Without regard for his own safety, Sergeant Chapman immediately engaged, moving in the direction of the closest enemy position despite coming under heavy fire from multiple directions. He fearlessly charged an enemy bunker, up a steep incline in thigh-deep snow and into hostile fire, directly engaging the enemy. Upon reaching the bunker, Sergeant Chapman assaulted and cleared the position, killing all enemy occupants. With complete disregard for his own life, Sergeant Chapman deliberately moved from cover only 12 meters from the enemy, and exposed himself once again to attack a second bunker, from which an emplaced machine gun was firing on his team. During this assault from an exposed position directly in the line of intense fire, Sergeant Chapman was struck and injured by enemy fire. Despite severe, mortal wounds, he continued to fight relentlessly, sustaining a violent engagement with multiple enemy personnel before making the ultimate sacrifice. By his heroic actions and extraordinary valor, sacrificing his life for the lives of his teammates, Technical Sergeant Chapman upheld the highest traditions of military service and reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force
    Gayle Alvarez, Medal of Honor Historical Society, US
    Merlin 71k MV TSgt. John A. Chapman (AK-323) moored pierside at Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point, N.C., 8 April 2006 during renaming ceremony. MSC web site
    MV Merlin (AK-323) - MSC Charter
    Merlin 42k MV Merlin (AK-323) moored pierside, date and place unknown. MSC web site

    There is no DANFS history for MV American Merlin (AK-9302) / MV Merlin (AK-323) / MV TSgt. John A. Chapman (AK-323) at NavSource
    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    Not Applicable to this vessel
    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    Congressional Medal of Honor Society
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 8 February 2019