Trump to award his eighth Medal of Honor since taking office to a soldier who died tackling a bomber

Trump to award his eighth Medal of Honor since taking office to a soldier who died tackling a bomber


Trump to award his eighth Medal of Honor since taking office to a soldier who died tackling a bomber By and Published: 05:05 GMT, 27 March 2019 | Updated: 06:48 GMT, 27 March 2019 Army Staff Sgt. Travis Atkins, 31, was trying to subdue a suspected insurgent in June 2007 when he realized the man in question was actually attempting to detonate a bomb strapped to his body President Donald Trump is to award his eighth Medal of Honor on Wednesday, to a fallen soldier who gave his life to stop an Iraqi suicide bomber from killing his colleagues.   Army Staff Sgt. Travis Atkins, 31, was trying to subdue a suspected insurgent in June 2007 when he realized the man in question was actually attempting to detonate a bomb strapped to his body.  Atkins immediately tackled the bomber and dived on top of him, in a bid to limit the effects of the blast.  Atkins died instantly. His selfless act of heroism is said to have saved the lives of three other soldiers, officials say.  In his place, Atkins son, Trevor, and his parents will represent him on at the ceremony on Wednesday afternoon.  When Staff Sergeant Atkins faced the unenviable choice of being a survivor or a hero, he chose the latter, said Sherman Gillums Jr., chief advocacy officer for AMVETS, a veterans service organization.  His actions, while costing him his life, gave new life to those hed saved and will forever be embodied by the Medal of Honor.  Atkins immediately tackled the bomber and dived on top of him, in a bid to limit the blast Atkins was initially awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, but it was upgraded to a Medal of Honor following a Defense Department review. From Bozeman, Montana, Atkins belonged to the 10th Mountain Division based out of Fort Drum, New York.  He was on his second tour of duty in Iraq and overseeing a 15 soldier squad at the time of his June 2007 death, one month after he was promoted to staff sergeant.  He first deployed to Iraq in 2003 and was later honorably discharged as a sergeant. He re enlisted in the Army in 2005 after attending the University of Montana and was sent back to Iraq in 2006.    The president, who received a series of deferments to avoid military service during the Vietnam War, speaks highly of medal recipients. Trump has handed out eight Medals of Honor since taking office two years ago pictured: Ronald Shurer being presented with the Medal of Honor October 01, 2018 Atkins was initially awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, but it was upgraded to a Medal of Honor following a Defense Department review He recounts for White House guests the details of the heroic acts for which the recipients are being recognized and, at times speaks, of them using language that suggests he could not have matched their bravery. America is the greatest force for peace, justice and freedom the world has ever known because of you and people like you, Trump said at the October ceremony for retired Marine Sgt. Maj. John Canley , the most recent medal recipient.  There are very few. There are very few. Brave people, but very, very few like you, John. Canley, now 80, showed his heroism during the Vietnam War including twice scaling a hospital wall in view of the enemy to help extract wounded Marines. At an earlier ceremony, Trump said Medal of Honor recipients are a godsend. Our nation is rich with blessings, but our greatest blessings of all are the patriots like John and all of you that just stood, and, frankly, many of the people in this room I exclude myself, and a few of the politicians, who, like John, carry our freedom on their shoulders, march into the face of evil, and fight to their very last breath so that we can live in freedom, and safety, and peace, he said before presenting the medal to the widow of John A. Chapman.  The Air Force sergeant was critically wounded and died in 2002 while trying to rescue a Navy SEAL in Afghanistan. Trump asked past Medal of Honor recipients attending the August 2018 event to stand and be recognized. The first seven medals he awarded recognized gallantry during World War II, Vietnam and war in Afghanistan, including two posthumous awards. Wednesdays award will be the first Trump gives to a service member who fought in Iraq. Presidents often get credit for putting the medal and its familiar blue ribbon on living recipients, but they have little say in who ultimately gets them. No arts, humanities or science medals have been handed out since September 2016, when Barack Obama was president The process takes years, including strict time limits for making an initial recommendation and awarding the medal itself, and can vary depending upon the circumstances of each case.  Cases work their way up the chain of command at the Pentagon to the service secretary and defense secretary. Both have authority to disapprove of a recommendation. Once the defense secretary signs off, the president as commander in chief has final say.  Exceptions are sometimes are made, as in the case of Canley, who personally saved more than 20 Marines during combat in one of the Vietnam Wars longest and bloodiest battles. But as years stretched into decades, some of the Marines who fought alongside Canley pushed for the Oxnard, California, resident to receive the medal.  After reviewing the case, then Defense Secretary Jim Mattis agreed in December 2017 that Canley deserved the honor. Trump then signed legislation waiving the time limit on awarding the medal. To me, it wasnt really about me, Canley said in a telephone interview. It was about those young Marines that I had the pleasure of leading in combat. Some 3,522 people have received the Medal of Honor since President Abraham Lincoln awarded the first one in 1863, during the Civil War, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Canley is one of 72 living recipients. The first awards Trump presented after taking office in 2017 went to first responders who were injured when a gunman fired on lawmakers at baseball practice, critically wounding Rep. Steve Scalise, R La.  No arts or humanities medals have been handed out since September 2016, when Barack Obama was president.  No science medals have been given since May 2016. The comments below have not been moderated. By posting your comment you agree to our . Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline? Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual. Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline? Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. Well ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook. You can choose on each post whether you would like it to be posted to Facebook. 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