On March 4, 2002, Senior Airman Jason D. Cunningham was serving as a pararescueman near the village of Marzak in the Paktia province of Afghanistan. He was the primary Air Force combat search and rescue medic assigned to a task force sent to recover Tech. Sgt. John A. Chapman, a combat controller for a SEAL team, and Petty Officer 1st Class Neil C. Roberts, a SEAL, who were trapped in Al-Qaeda-held territory.