Soldier Who Stopped Suicide Bomber To Receive Medal of Honor

A 10th Mountain Division squad leader credited with saving the lives of three of his soldiers by throwing himself atop a suicide bomber in Iraq will be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on March 27, 2019.

On the morning of June 1, 2007, Staff Sgt. Travis Atkins’ squad was conducting route security in the town of Abu Samak, Iraq, when his team observed two suspected insurgents attempting to cross the route they were securing.

After one of Atkins’ teammates yelled at the two insurgents to stop, they began acting very erratically, acknowledging commands but also appearing as if they might attempt to flee.

Atkins led his vehicle to the suspected insurgents and dismounted with his platoon medic in an attempt to interdict and search them. As he reached them, one of the insurgents began to resist the search and hand-to-hand combat ensued.

Realizing the insurgent had explosives under his clothes, Atkins heroically fought the insurgent, keeping him from reaching the suicide vest he was wearing.

As the hand-to-hand battle continued, the insurgent was able to reach the suicide vest under his clothing. At that point, Atkins wrapped the insurgent up and threw him to the ground, away from his Soldiers who were standing a few feet away.

Aware of the imminent danger, Atkins threw himself on top of the suicide bomber, pinning him to the ground and shielding his Soldiers from the imminent explosion while bearing the brunt of the blast as the bomb detonated.

In this critical and selfless act of valor, which mortally wounded him, Atkins saved the lives of three other Soldiers who were with him.

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