Today, President Trump will award the Medal of Honor posthumously to Staff Sergeant Travis W. Atkins of the United States Army.

The mood is somber in the East Room for the Medal of Honor ceremony.

President Trump strode in at 4:14 pm. Lots of uniforms in the crowd.

The ceremony is open to pre-credentialed media and live-streamed on the White House website.

Background from the press office: 

Today, President Donald J. Trump will award the Medal of Honor posthumously to Staff Sergeant Travis W. Atkins, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry. Mr. Trevor Oliver, son of Staff Sergeant Atkins, will join the President at the White House to accept the award and commemorate his father’s selfless service and sacrifice.

The following individuals are expected to attend:

The White House

President Donald J. Trump

Vice President of the United States

Mick Mulvaney, Assistant to the President  and Acting Chief of Staff

Daniel Walsh, Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations

Ambassador John Bolton, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

Trump Administration

David Norquist, Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary of Defense

Mark Esper, Secretary of the Army 

United States Armed Forces

General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 

General Paul Selva, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

General Mark Milley, Chief of Staff of the Army

General Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau

Sergeant Major Daniel Dailey, Sergeant Major of the Army

Members of Congress

Senator Steve Daines, MT

Senator Jon Tester, MT

Representative Jim Banks, IN

Representative Greg Gianforte, MT

Representative Elise Stefanik, NY

Rep. Pete Stauber, MN

Rep. Michael Waltz, FL

Background on the Staff Sergeant Travis W. Atkins and the Medal of Honor

Staff Sergeant Travis W. Atkins will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions of June 1, 2007, in support of IRAQI FREEDOM.  While serving in Iraq with Company D, 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2d Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Staff Sergeant Atkins engaged in hand-to hand combat with a suspected insurgent.  As he attempted to subdue the man, Staff Sergeant Atkins realized the insurgent was attempting to detonate a bomb strapped to his body.  When he noticed the insurgent was about to trigger the suicide vest, Staff Sergeant Atkins tackled him, selflessly using his own body to shield his fellow soldiers from the imminent explosion.  Staff Sergeant Atkins’ heroic actions, at the cost of his life, saved the lives of three of his teammates. 


On November 9, 2000, Atkins enlisted in the United States Army.  He attended basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, and was assigned to Company A, 3d Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.  He deployed to Iraq in 2003 and was later honorably discharged as a Sergeant.  After attending the University of Montana, he re-enlisted in the Army in 2005 and deployed again to Iraq in August 2006.  He was promoted to Staff Sergeant on May 1, 2007.  Staff Sergeant Atkins is survived by his son, Trevor Oliver, of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, and his parents, John and Elaine Atkins of Bozeman, Montana.


The Medal of Honor is awarded to members of the Armed Forces who distinguish themselves conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of their own lives above and beyond the call of duty while:

• engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;

• engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or

• serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.       

The meritorious conduct must involve great personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his or her comrades and must have involved risk of life. There must be incontestable proof of the performance of the meritorious conduct, and each recommendation for the award must be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.

The White House Press Pool

Produced by members of the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA), these brief Pool Reports track American president. The White House Press Pool is composed of the members of the White House...

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