May 24 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump awarded a retired member of the Navy's SEAL Team Six with a Medal of Honor on Thursday.
On March 4, 2002, Slabinski was leading a reconnaissance team to the top of a 10,000-foot snow-covered mountain when unexpected heavy fire knocked a teammate out of their helicopter and onto the mountaintop.
"Britt and his team didn't even hesitate for a moment. They made their decision. For them it was an easy one. They went back to that mountain," Trump said. "When their helicopter reached the mountain peak, they jumped out into a furious onslaught of machine gunfire like none of them had ever seen before."
Slabinksi then carried an injured teammate down the cliff and continued to fight until the mountaintop was secured by the quick reaction force and his team was extracted.
Petty Officer 1st Class Neil Roberts, the team member who fell out of the helicopter, was captured and killed. Seven Americans were killed and six injured in 14 hours on the mountaintop.
"To Britt, and to all of the men of Robert's Ridge: You waged a fierce fight against the enemies. And these really have become the enemies of America and the enemies of all civilization. Through your actions, you demonstrated that there is no love more pure, and no courage more great, than the love and courage that burns in the hearts of American patriots," Trump said.
Slabinski's honor follows years of controversy over the rescue mission.
Reports allege that Slabinski and the rest of the SEAL team left Air Force Technical Sgt. John Chapman behind during their mission to rescue Roberts. Chapman was later killed by al-Qaida militants, Newsweek reported.
Although Slabinski believed Chapman was dead, the Air Force said in a 2016 New York Times report that he left the sergeant to fight alone for more than an hour before he was killed.