On Nov. 7 2008, Brig. Gen. Michael Harrison presented the Distinguished Service Cross to the family of Staff Sgt. Travis Atkins, squad leader, 2-14 Infantry Regiment, 2 Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division; awarded posthumously for his actions June 1, 2007 in Abu Sarnak, Iraq.
Staff Sgt. Atkins and his squad were part of the search for two other 10th Mountain Division Soldiers – Spc. Alex Jimenez and Private 1st Class Byron Fouty — who were captured in an earlier attack south of Baghdad. Staff Sgt. Atkins spotted four men approaching his vehicle and directed three of his Soldiers to stop and search them. When one broke from the group to escape, Staff Sgt. Atkins pursued and tackled him to the ground. A bitter fight ensued, during which Staff Sgt. Atkins realized the insurgent was struggling to detonate the suicide vest strapped to his chest. He managed to pin the insurgent to the ground, shielding the three other Soldiers as the vest detonated.
Staff Sgt. Atkins’ family requested to receive his award at Fort Drum, among the Soldiers with whom he served, and that Brig Gen. Harrison, who had rendered honors at the funeral, present it.
For his gallantry in action, Staff Sgt. Travis Atkins is this week’s Warrior-Soldier.
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