Travis W Atkins
Travis was born on the 9th of December, 1975, in Great Falls, Montana, and had grown up in Bozeman once his parents had moved there in 1981. Travis was said to love being outdoors fishing, hunting, camping, and snowmobiling. He graduated high school in 1993 and worked as a contractor and small engine mechanic prior to enlisting in the US Army on the 9th of November, 2000. He attended Basic Training at Fort Benning, Georgia, before transferring to Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The 101st Airborne Division was deployed to Kuwait in March of 2003 before participating in the invasion of Iraq, where Travis was an infantry fire team leader.
In December of 2003, Travis was honorably discharged from the Army at the end of his contract and returned home to attend the University of Montana in Missoula. He also went back to contracting work that he had done prior to enlisting. Two years after being discharged, Travis decided to reenlist and was this time with the 10th Mountain Division. He was deployed again to Iraq and initially, his actions earned him the Distinguished Service Cross but would later earn him the Medal of Honor. The citation reads:
Staff Sergeant Travis W. Atkins, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with Company D, 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2d Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, on 1 June 2007. Staff Sergeant Atkins distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry at the cost of his life in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. While conducting route security in the town of Abu Sarnak, Iraq, Staff Sergeant Atkins apprehended and began to search a group of suspected insurgents. However, one insurgent resisted and engaged Staff Sergeant Atkins in hand-to-hand combat. As Staff Sergeant Atkins attempted to subdue the man, he realized the insurgent was attempting to trigger a suicide vest which he wore under his clothing. Despite Staff Sergeant Atkins' efforts, the insurgent finally succeeded in reaching his vest. Staff Sergeant Atkins selflessly tackled the suicide bomber in a bear hug, pinning him to the ground and shielding his Soldiers from the imminent explosion. In this critical and selfless act of valor in which he was mortally wounded, Staff Sergeant Atkins saved the lives of three other Soldiers who were with him and gallantly gave his life for his country. Staff Sergeant Atkins' undaunted courage, warrior spirit and steadfast devotion to duty reflect great credit upon himself, the 2d Brigade Combat Team, and the United States Army.
In June of 2012, the Military Entrance Processing Station, or MEPS, in Butte, Montana, had their ceremony room named in Travis's honor and the Mount Functional Fitness Facility at Fort Drum, New York, was also named in his honor. His Distinguished Service Cross was one of many that were reevaluated for consideration for the Medal of Honor and on the 27th of March, 2019, Travis's son, Trevor, received his Medal of Honor from President Trump in a ceremony at the White House. His wife and parents, John and Elaine, were present during the ceremony. Travis William Atkins is buried in the Sunset Hills Cemetary in Bozeman, Montana; Veterans Section, Block 129, Lot 100.