In honor of a fallen United States Sergeant who sacrificed his life to save three fellow comrades in 2007, Melania Trump tweeted on March 27, writing: “We are humbly reminded of the invaluable cost of freedom. Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins, United States Army, receives the #MedalofHonor posthumously today through his family.”
“We honor SSgt Atkins. His last actions were made to save the lives of his teammates. God Bless our troops,” she further added.
We are humbly reminded of the invaluable cost of freedom. Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins, United States Army, receives the #MedalofHonor posthumously today through his family. We honor SSgt Atkins. His last actions were made to save the lives of his teammates. God Bless our troops.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) March 27, 2019
The First Lady’s tweet came after President Donald Trump bestowed the U.S. Army Staff Sergeant, Travis Atkins, with a posthumous Medal of Honor during a ceremony held in the East Room of the White House.
“Today the name of Staff Sgt. Travis Atkins will be etched alongside the names of America’s greatest warriors,” Trump said.
Alluding to the entire Atkins family, the president further added: “We can never measure the depth of our gratitude or full magnitude of your loss but we can pay everlasting tribute to Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins—his truly immortal act of valor. It was indeed.”
“The name of Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins will be etched alongside the names of America’s bravest warriors and written forever into America’s heart.” pic.twitter.com/zsal7N4B70
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 27, 2019
The nation’s highest and most prestigious military medal to recognize acts of valor was received by Atkin’s 22-year-old son, Trevor Oliver, on his behalf. His parents, Jack Atkins and Elaine Atkins, along with other family members, were also present at the ceremony.
The 31-year-old Atkins, of Bozeman, Montana, died a heroic death on June 1, 2007, during his second duty in Iraq.
On that fateful day, while Atkins and his unit were performing route clearance in the town of Abu Samak in Iraq, they noticed two suspected insurgents.
On March 27th, Staff Sgt. Travis Atkins, @10thMTNDIV will posthumously receive the #MedalofHonor during a ceremony at the @WhiteHouse for his heroic actions on June 1, 2007. His son will accept the medal in his place.
— U.S. Army (@USArmy) March 21, 2019
Atkins pulled over his Humvee and confronted the two men. He attempted to search one of the men, but he resisted. He wrestled with the man and soon realized he was wearing a suicide vest.
Just as the insurgent was going to detonate the bomb, the courageous Atkins bear-hugged him and pinned him to the ground. To protect three fellow soldiers of his unit who were a few feet away, he placed his own body atop the insurgent to shield them from danger as the bomb exploded.
The brave Atkins died instantly, but his selfless and heroic act ended up saving the lives of the three soldiers, who were also present at the ceremony on March 27.
The White House will posthumously present the Medal of Honor to #USArmy Staff Sgt. Travis Atkins, today, March 27 at 4…
“He saved my life and the life of several others,” said former Army Sgt. Sand Aijo at the Pentagon on Tuesday, as per Stars and Stripes. “I would not be here today without him.”
“In his final moments on Earth, Travis did not run, he didn’t know what it was to run. He did not hesitate. He rose to the highest calling. He laid down his life to save the lives of his fellow warriors,” Trump said during the ceremony. “In so doing, he embodied the deepest meaning of the motto of the 10th Mountain Division: He ‘climbed to glory.’”
“Now Travis is looking down from above on all of us—on all of his fellow warriors, on his great family—wrapped in glory, the loving glory of Almighty God,” he went on to say.
Atkins was first deployed to Kuwait with the 101st Airborne Division in March 2003, and a month later, he was an infantry team leader during the invasion of Iraq, according to the U.S. Dept of Defense.
By the end of 2003, he returned home to attend the University of Montana while working as a contractor. His calling to serve prompted him to re-enlist in the Army with the 10th Mountain Division in 2005. He was deployed to Iraq the second time in 2006. Just a month before he died, he was promoted to Staff Sergeant.
Atkins’s son Trevor Oliver was only 11 years old when his father died.
During the award ceremony, Oliver took the stage to remember his father. He said the kind words he has heard from his father’s fellow comrades were what he took the most pride in.
“Everything you have said to me over the last few days has meant the world to me, and it changes my life every, every day,” Oliver said. “That’s—the medal is something that I take very—a lot of pride in, but it’s the words that are the real prize and what really means the most to me.”
“I want him to be remembered as the best father that anyone could ask for, and also at the same time being the best soldier that anyone could ask for,” Oliver said. “He was my icon.”
The Medal of Honor has only been awarded to 3,504 men and one woman since it was created during the Civil War according to Fox News.
Watch the video:
On this #MedalofHonorDay, we highlight the incredible story of Staff Sgt. Travis AtkinsStaff Sgt. Travis Atkins’ selfless act of valor mortally wounded him and saved the lives of three other Soldiers. Atkins will posthumously receive the Medal of Honor during a ceremony at the White House, March 27. Tune in here to watch the ceremony.Video by Staff Sgt. Moses Ward & Tyler Prince
Posted by U.S. Army on Monday, March 18, 2019