Thursday April 4, 2019
Staff Sgt. Travis Atkins last month posthumously became the fifth US service member to receive the Medal of Honor (the nation’s highest award for combat valor) for his actions during the Iraq War—in 2007.
According to an article in the Washington Post (“Soldier’s posthumous Medal of Honor highlights the Pentagon’s struggles to fully recognize valor in combat”), Atkins and his fellow soldiers rolled up in their Humvee on “two suspicious men in Iraq’s ‘Triangle of Death.’” Atkins “stepped out of the Humvee and walked toward the first stranger” while “an Army medic stepped out of the back seat, moving toward the second.” Atkins unexpectedly “began grappling with the first Iraqi,” “gabbed him in a bear hug,” “slammed him to the ground,” and “pinned him down.”
Then the detonation happened.
Atkins’s son, who was eleven when his father died, “accepted the award on behalf of his late father from President Trump, who highlighted how Atkins, then 31, died June 1, 2007, saving the lives of the three other soldiers by choosing to smother a suicide vest with his own body.” “In his final moments on earth, Travis did not run. He didn’t know what it was to run,” Trump said. “He laid down his life to save the lives of his fellow warriors.”