A U.S. Army soldier who sacrificed his life to stop a suicide bomber will be honored with a posthumous Medal of Honor, President Trump announced on Twitter.
According to the Washington Examiner, 31-year-old Staff Sgt. Travis W. Atkins died in a 2007 mission in Iraq when he threw himself on an insurgent who set off an explosive vest.
Atkins was reportedly checking the man for weapons in the Iraqi town of Abu Samak when the insurgent forcefully resisted.
The Washington Examiner reports:
Atkins was checking for weapons, but the encounter turned physical, and Atkins determined that the suspected insurgent had a bomb attached to him.
As the suspected insurgent attempted to set off his suicide vest, Atkins tackled him and used “his own body to shield his fellow soldiers from the imminent explosion,” the White House’s announcement said.
The 10th Mountain Division squad leader based out of Fort Drum, New York will posthumously receive the Medal of Honor for his sacrifice, the Washington Examiner reports. Atkins is initially from Bozeman, Montana, per the White House.
The White House announced:
On Wednesday, March 27, 2019, President Donald J. Trump will award the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Travis W. Atkins, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry. To commemorate the selfless service and sacrifice of Staff Sergeant Atkins, his son Trevor Oliver and family will join the President at the White House.
Staff Sergeant Travis W. Atkins will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions of June 1, 2007, in support of IRAQI FREEDOM. While serving in Iraq with Company D, 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2d Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Staff Sergeant Atkins engaged in hand-to hand combat with a suspected insurgent. As he attempted to subdue the man, Staff Sergeant Atkins realized the insurgent was attempting to detonate a bomb strapped to his body. When he noticed the insurgent was about to trigger the suicide vest, Staff Sergeant Atkins tackled him, selflessly using his own body to shield his fellow soldiers from the imminent explosion. Staff Sergeant Atkins’ heroic actions, at the cost of his life, saved the lives of three of his teammates.
According to the Trump administration, Atkins first enlisted in the U.S. Army on November 9, 2000.
“He attended basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, and was assigned to Company A, 3d Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He deployed to Iraq in 2003 and was later honorably discharged as a Sergeant,” Atkins’ background continues, via the White House. “After attending the University of Montana, he re-enlisted in the Army in 2005 and deployed again to Iraq in August 2006. He was promoted to Staff Sergeant on May 1, 2007. Staff Sergeant Atkins is survived by his son, Trevor Oliver, of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, and his parents, John and Elaine Atkins of Bozeman, Montana.”
Here’s even more, from the Washington Examiner:
A fitness center at Fort Drum was named after Atkins in 2013, where one of the soldiers who served with Atkins’ characterized him as as his “favorite superhero.”
“When my 4-year-old son Travis tells me his favorite superhero is Captain America and asks me who my favorite superhero is, my reply always has and will be Staff Sgt. Travis W. Atkins,” then-Sgt. Aaron Hall said at the dedication ceremony, according to the Army.
Atkins’ mother, Elaine Atkins, told the Associated Press her son “loved the Army. … When he joined the Army, that’s when he found his niche.”