U.S. CONGRESS – U.S. Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester and Congressman Greg Gianforte today celebrated the U.S. Senate passage of their bipartisan legislation to rename the VA clinic in Bozeman after fallen Montana war hero, Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins.
“Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins’ bravery and service in to our nation is a true inspiration for Montanans and Americans nationwide,” Daines said. “I’m happy to see my colleagues in the U.S. Senate support this important bill recognizing Atkins’ bravery by renaming the VA clinic in his hometown of Bozeman in his honor. His selfless sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
“Today, with the support of our Senate colleagues, we’ve finally gotten through the Senate our bill to support naming the Bozeman VA clinic after Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins, a Medal of Honor recipient and distinguished Montanan. Sergeant Atkins is an American hero who paid the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefield to save the lives of his fellow soldiers. I’m hopeful this bill will be quickly signed into law, so that folks in Bozeman and across this grateful nation may properly honor Sergeant Atkins’ courage— and legacy— for generations to come,” said Tester, who serves as Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
Gianforte introduced legislation in the U.S. House, H.R. 1918, and will work to secure passage before the bill heads to the President’s desk.
“Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins showed unparalleled courage and made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the soldiers he served with in Iraq,” Gianforte said. “Renaming the VA clinic in Bozeman after him will serve as a lasting tribute to Travis’ legacy of valor. I’m committed to getting this bipartisan, commonsense bill across the finish line in the House.”
Born and raised in Montana, SSG Travis Atkins enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2000 at age 24. He served in Afghanistan, was honorably discharged in 2003, and reenlisted two years later. Shielding his fellow soldiers from a terrorist attack in Iraq, Atkins died on June 1, 2007 as he tackled and pinned down a suicide bomber who detonated a bomb. Atkins’ quick thinking and selfless actions saved the lives of his fellow soldiers. Atkins initially received a Distinguished Service Cross for his heroism, but after a review by the Department of Defense, he was awarded a Medal of Honor.
Daines’ tie with Atkins dates back to 2007 after he was killed in Iraq. At the time, Denny Lenoir, Daines’ current Director of Veteran & Military Affairs, was the Montana State Director of Military Funeral Honors. Denny worked with the parents to get Travis home to Montana. Denny was the first to receive Travis when he landed at the Belgrade airport, and the last person to leave the cemetery after his funeral service.
Daines has since spent time with Atkins’ family, including at the Bozeman American Legion on Memorial Day last year.
In late March, Daines and Gianforte attended a White House Ceremony that posthumously awarded Army Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins with the Medal of Honor. In conjunction with the ceremony, Daines, Gianforte, and Tester introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate and House to rename the VA clinic in Bozeman after the fallen Montana war hero.