• Sharing the true story of Tech Sgt. John Chapman - An American Hero
  • Jimerson & Cobb named to the Law Firm 500 for the 3rd year in a row
  • Battle of the Bags at the recent UNF Construction Management Corn Hole Tournament
  • New Law Blogs
  • Curiosities, Ruminations and Various Eccentricities of Firm Biz
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Sharing the true story of Tech Sgt. John Chapman - An American Hero
This month we celebrated Veterans Day, a day where we express gratitude for those who have served our country and remind ourselves that freedom isn’t free. As a veteran and military history buff, I’m always finding stories of American triumph and heroism that get glossed over in favor of more salacious popular culture or political stories that get likes, retweets, shares and internet commentary. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to come across an article about Air Force Technical Sergeant John Chapman, who was honored in 2018 as the first Post 9/11 Airman to receive the Medal of Honor. This distinction was bestowed upon him posthumously, 16 years after his incredible bravery on a mountaintop in Shah-i-Kot Valley, Afghanistan. The Air Force Times did a nice story about Tech Sgt. Chapman, which can be read here

Tech Sgt. Chapman was posthumously honored for extraordinary heroism in military operation as a 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Combat Controller in the vicinity of Gardez, in the eastern highlands of Afghanistan, on 4 March 2002. As American special operations forces were fighting to establish observation posts high above Afghanistan’s Shah-i-Kot Valley, conventional troops continued their push through the valley floor below. One of those operators, Tech Sgt. John Chapman, was alone in the pitch-black, wounded and slowly regaining his consciousness in the thigh-deep snow of a 10,469-foot peak known as Takur Ghar, as scores of Al Qaeda fighters closed in. For his actions earlier in the battle and for his incredible bravery on that peak, “Chappy” — as he was known by his teammates — became the first Air Force service-member to receive the nation’s highest award for valor since the Vietnam War.
It was the second day of what would be the largest battle involving conventional U.S. troops in the Afghanistan War, called Operation Anaconda. On that early Monday morning, the MH-47 Chinook helicopter that was supposed to ferry Chapman and the SEALs to Takur Ghar was late. The operators were due to lift-off from their Gardez base around midnight and quietly land near the base of the peak before climbing to the top. But maintenance delays and pressure from senior officers forced the team’s leader to nix the safer approach, instead opting to “land on the x” of the peak in the early hours of the morning. It would prove a gross miscalculation in retrospect.

Chapman, an Air Force combat controller, and six members of Navy SEAL Team 6 — callsign Mako 30 — were to helicopter-insert high above the valley so that they could direct air strikes and provide intelligence for conventional troops below, who were attempting to flush out an estimated 200 to 300 lightly-armed Al Qaeda fighters, just five months after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. But both the American soldiers on the valley floor and on its peaks would soon learn the intelligence estimate was wrong: Not only were there closer to 1,000 fighters waiting for them, but they were outfitted with heavy machine-guns, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, and even some artillery. And instead of attempting to flee, as many Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters did in the earlier battle of Tora Bora, these fighters intended to stay, and fight. 

When “Razor 03” moved in toward the landing site above 10,000 feet, heavy machine-gun and RPG fire began peppering the helicopter. One RPG ripped through the aircraft’s fuselage, putting its mini-gun out of action, and small arms ripped through lines carrying hydraulic fluid, which began pouring out all over the helicopter’s rear ramp. In the chaos, one SEAL, Petty Officer 1st Class Neil Roberts, slipped and fell from the back of the helicopter a short distance to the snowy ground. 

With his aircraft now heavily-damaged, the pilot struggled to keep it aloft in the thin air before evacuating the site and crash-landing about four miles away. Despite this near-death experience, Chappy brushed it off to the helicopter’s crew, and is reported to have made jokes about the landing being soft. Now on the ground, Chapman, according to the citation for the Air Force Cross he posthumously received in 2003, immediately performed his own specialized job of combat control — coordinating air strikes and handling communications — with precision, attempting to both protect the team and rescue Petty Officer Roberts, who was still alone on the mountain above. Chapman “directed the gunship to begin the search for the missing team member. He requested, coordinated, and controlled the helicopter that extracted the stranded team and aircrew members,” according to his Air Force Cross.

As Chapman led rescue missions, Petty Officer Roberts, the SEAL still stranded on the peak, defiantly fought the Al Qaeda fighters closing in on his position, until he was overwhelmed and executed. A Predator drone that had come on station overhead saw him being dragged away by three enemy fighters who attempted to decapitate him. Shortly before 5 a.m., Chapman and a group of six remaining operators returned to the spot where Roberts was taken from and finally claimed a small piece of Takur Ghar. The peak was a perfect site for an observation post, but regretfully, was an Al Qaeda sanctuary. Under heavy fire and trudging through snow, the team could now see that enemy fighters had dug trenches and bunkers on the vantage point, allowing them line of sight far into the valley. Chapman, and the assigned SEAL Team Leader “Slab,” engaged multiple enemy positions and cleared out a small bunker, before Chapman was hit by enemy fire.

According to his Air Force Cross, Chapman “exchanged fire with the enemy from minimum personal cover until he succumbed to multiple wounds.” At that point, Slab, under heavy machine-gun fire and with grenades being tossed nearby, could see through his night-vision goggles that Chapman’s infrared aiming laser had stopped moving, according to The New York Times . “He’s dead,” Slab told his teammates, before withdrawing down the mountain so the C-130 gunship flying overhead could pound Al Qaeda positions. 

But a recent Air Force analysis of video captured by the Predator drone overhead, reported by The Times in 2016, tells a different story. The low-quality drone footage showed one man in a bunker defending himself against two others, eventually killing one with a rifle shot. The Predator feed was later paired with video taken from the C-130, offering a clearer picture of what happened. It showed that Chapman continued to fight, even after being left for dead. As the Times reported, briefing slides prepared by the Air Force said that Chapman was unconscious at the time Slab believed him dead. Minutes after the SEALs moved down the mountain, Chapman came to and crawled into the bunker at around 5:25 a.m., where he sought cover. At 6 a.m., fighters fired a rocket-propelled grenade toward him as another rushed the bunker, which Chapman dispatched with a rifle shot.

A few minutes later, another Al Qaeda fighter attempted to crawl toward Chapman’s position, but the Air Force sergeant killed him in hand-to-hand combat. As the sun began to rise amid the sound of the cavalry coming — Razor 01 and 02 helicopter chalks carrying a quick reaction force of 35 Army Rangers — Chapman rose from the bunker to provide cover fire, but he was struck twice in the chest by Al Qaeda machine-guns, killing him instantly.
Chapman, alone and surrounded, kept fighting back for more than an hour. He fought hard, but the odds were stacked against him. He never gave up. He never gave in. Instead he gave all. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, aggressiveness in the face of the enemy, and the dedication to the service of his country, Tech Sgt. Chapman reflects the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

As you reflect on Thanksgiving last week, and spend precious time with family this holiday season, consider taking a moment to raise a glass to those like John Chapman, an Airman who used his last moments of strength to fend for his brothers instead of himself. America must never forget his sacrifices. In this coming month, of all months, let us remember the service of our veterans, and let us renew our national promise to fulfill our sacred obligations to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much so that we can live free.
Very truly yours,
Jimerson & Cobb named to the Law Firm 500 for the 3rd year in a row
Jimerson & Cobb, P.A. was announced as a 2018 Honoree for the Law Firm 500. With 51% growth, the firm was selected to the prestigious list of fastest growing law firms in the U.S. for the third year in a row.

In order to make the Law Firm 500, Jimerson & Cobb submitted revenue and staffing information for the past three years. It was reviewed by Kahuna Accounting, who then determined the award eligibility and rankings for independent for-profit firms who were included in the list.

Click here to download and read our press release, and here for the complete Law Firm 500 list.
Battle of the Bags at the recent UNF Construction management Corn Hole Tournament
UNF Alumni Chris Cobb and Clayton Osteen recently showed off their baggo skills during the Construction Management Annual Corn Hole Tournament on November 9. Corn bean bags aplenty were slung at 6747 Southpoint Parkway, which is the site of the new Northeast Florida Builders Association office. While J&C didn't bring home the trophy this year (Congrats Reliant Roofing !) we felt like winners with the custom built boards built by the CM students.

This fun industry event was hosted by NEFBA, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and the Construction Management Department at UNF. The tournament supports Construction Management students and clubs at the University by raising money for activities and scholarships.
J&C Legal Blogs
Are you keeping up with the latest information in business and law? J&C publishes weekly blog posts covering topics from construction law, business litigation, eminent domain law, community associations law and everything in between. Click here to subscribe today and stay up-to-date on the latest legal news from these areas:

Construction Industry Law Blog
Where Is The Appropriate Venue To Litigate A 713.24 Transfer Bond?

The appropriate venue for litigating the foreclosure of a construction lien is obvious. The appropriate venue must be the county in which the property is located. But what happens when an owner or contractor posts a transfer bond pursuant to  Fla. Stat. 713.24  and the contract has a forum selection clause that designates exclusive venue in a county which is different from the county in which the project is located?

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Disputes Regarding Interpretation Of The Florida Building Code By Building Officials, The Florida Building Commission And Contractors

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Business Litigation Blog
Been Caught Stealing: Expelling Or "Kicking Out" Members From Florida Limited Liability Companies When a Member Is Diverting Assets

Though Florida was one of the first states to enact legislation permitting the organization of limited liability companies (“LLC”), usage of LLCs as a corporate form is still a relatively new concept. With the Florida Limited Liability Company Act of 1999 and the passage of certain taxation legislation, LLCs are a very favorable business organization form for small and mid-sized businesses.

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Understanding The Process For Employee Sexual Harassment Claims

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Handling Delinquent Customers: Legal Action and Collection Methods, Part II

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Reasonable And Effective Non-Compete Clauses From The Employer's Perspective

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New Florida Statute Provides Lenders With a Remedy In A Foreclosure Proceeding Against Borrowers Who Declare Bankruptcy

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Business Judgment Rule - Shielding The Corporate Director From Personal Liability And Considerations Of Efficient And Financially Reasonable Resolutions

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Community Association Law Blog
How To Ensure A Successful Condominium Annual Meeting And Board Election

As the calendar turns to fall and we approach the end of the year, it is time again for board members and managers to make sure they are prepared for their annual meetings, including board elections. While running an effective election is critical for every association, it shouldn’t be a stressful or dreaded event. By following a few simple steps, you can ensure your election goes off without a hitch and according to Florida law and your association’s governing documents.

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Firm News
Curiosities, Ruminations and Various Eccentricities of Firm Biz
In the October Newsletter introduction, Chris Cobb issued a challenge to Jimerson & Cobb clients and staff alike: consider who of the many people in your life has made a major impact on you during the past year, show them how much they mean to you and post an image online as a symbol of appreciation. As you can see above, we received flood of gratitude for colleagues, friends, family and other people who had made a difference. The responses we received were posted to the firm's Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages. Cue the tears of joy! #givingthanksJCstyle
Giving To Those In Our Community Who Are Struggling The Most

For many in Jacksonville who are homeless or have suffered a life-altering crisis this year, the finances are slim, and Thanksgiving cheer may be in short supply. To help do our part in bringing comfort to those in our community who are facing unthinkable challenges, staff and attorneys at Jimerson & Cobb gathered and donated canned food during our annual food drive. We hope you will agree that it is better to give than to receive. Considering all of the blessings we have each been given, our firm hopes that you will think of our neighbors in crisis, then join us in supporting worthy organizations like the Salvation Army who are helping to feed them.
Gutterballs, Strikes & Spares At The Firm's Annual Pumpkin Bowling Night

You could practically smell the lane oil as J&C attorneys and legal support staff laced up their bowling shoes to take part in the fierce competition at our Annual Pumpkin Bowling night. We saw a combination of factors impact the final standings... such as the lucky pumpkin selected, the paper towel pins adorned with jack-o-lantern faces and attorney portraits and of course, refreshing brews. However, when it was all said and done, after three long frames, chock full of consistency and finesse, this year's champion pumpkin bowler was none other than Charlie Jimerson! To watch the event video as the action ramps up, click the images above or here .
J&C Lawyers Explain...

J&C Lawyers Explain... is the lighter side of current events, from a Jimerson & Cobb attorney's perspective. Each month, a different lawyer is spontaneously presented with a question about a random topic, for them to comment on completely off-the-cuff. Attorneys are not provided the question ahead of time, and the video is all shot in one take, without any edits. If you have a funny and timely question you'd like us to consider our lawyers answering on YouTube, email marketing@jimersoncobb.com .

This month's question was answered by Attorney Austin B. Calhoun : " Tell us about your favorite episode of The Jerry Springer Show? " To view his funny response on YouTube, click here .
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