03.27.19

Daines, Gianforte Honor Fallen Montana Hero Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins

Attend White House Medal of Honor Ceremony, Introduce Bill to Rename Bozeman VA Clinic in His Honor

U.S. CONGRESS — U.S. Senator Steve Daines and Congressman Greg Gianforte today attended a White House Ceremony that posthumously awarded Army Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins with the Medal of Honor. In conjunction with today’s ceremony, Daines and Gianforte introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate and House to rename the VA clinic in Bozeman after the fallen Montana war hero.

“It was a privilege to stand with Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins’ mom, dad, and son as President Trump awarded Travis our nation’s highest distinction - the Medal of Honor,” Daines said.  “A Montana native, Travis’ extraordinary valor and sacrificial service are a defining moment in our state’s great history. Every effort should be made to preserve his legacy. That is why today I also introduced legislation to rename the VA Clinic in Travis’ hometown of Bozeman in his honor.”

“Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins showed unparalleled courage and made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the soldiers he served with in Iraq,” Gianforte said. “It was my honor and privilege to stand with his family today as President Trump presented them with Travis’ Medal of Honor. A token of our eternal gratitude for his selfless sacrifice, renaming the VA clinic in Bozeman after him serves as a lasting tribute to Travis’ legacy of valor.”

Born and raised in Montana, Staff Stg. 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.

Background:

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. It was Denny’s job to work 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.

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