Veteran of the Day graphic by Kimber Garland.
Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran, Travis Atkins. Travis served during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Raised in Bozeman, Montana, Travis spent his early years working menial labor jobs before enlisting with the United States Army in Nov. 2000. He completed basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia and was assigned to Alpha Company of the 3rd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division stationed out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Travis took well to military life, feeling that he had found his niche with the 101st Airborne.
In early March 2003, Travis and the 101st Airborne Division were deployed to Kuwait and participated in the invasion of Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. There, Travis served as an infantry fire team leader and spent time attached with the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment. After serving his 10-month deployment, Travis returned to the United States and was discharged in December 2003 at the rank of sergeant.
After leaving the Army, Travis returned to work and began attending classes at the University of Montana, Missoula.
In December 2005, Travis reenlisted with the United States Army and served with Alpha Company of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division stationed at Fort Drum, New York. In August 2006, he was reassigned to Delta Company of the 2nd Battalion and deployed on his second tour in Iraq.
On June 1, 2007, Travis and several fellow soldiers spotted four suspicious Iraqi civilians while on patrol. As Travis and his fellow soldiers attempted to detain the men, a melee ensued. As Travis attempted to subdue one of the men, he noticed the man was attempting to trigger a suicide vest. Travis then tackled the insurgent, shielding his fellow soldiers from the ensuing blast, saving their lives at the cost of his own.
Travis had become highly decorated during his service, reaching the rank of staff sergeant and earning the Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and the Air Assault Badge. On March 27, 2019, in recognition of his heroic and selfless actions thwarting the suicide attack, Travis’ Distinguished Service Cross was posthumously upgraded to the Medal of Honor.
We honor his service.
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Graphic Design: Kimber Garland
Editor: Vincent Tran
Fact checker: Jordan Gossett