Army Staff Sgt. Travis William Atkins, 31, was killed June 1, 2007, near Yusufiyah, Iraq, when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device as Travis was apprehending him.
At the time of his death, Travis was leading a dismounted patrol as a squad leader of Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry).
Travis was born in Great Falls, the son of John (Jack) and Elaine (Frankel) Atkins. Travis spent his first five years in Helena and then moved with his parents to Bozeman in 1981.
Travis attended Bozeman schools and also one year at Kemper Military School in Booneville, Mo.
Prior to enlisting in the U.S. Army, Travis worked for concrete contractors, painting contractors and as a small engine mechanic in Missoula, Belgrade, Bozeman and West Yellowstone.
Travis enlisted in the U.S. Army on Nov. 16, 2000. After completing infantry basic training at Fort Benning, Ga., Travis was assigned to Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Ky.
Travis deployed with the 101st to Kuwait in early March 2003 and participated in the invasion of Iraq later that month as an infantry fire team leader.
During his 2003 tour in Iraq, Travis was tasked out to the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-DELTA for a period of time.
Travis was honorably discharged as a sergeant, E-5, from the U.S. Army in December 2003, whereupon he again worked for concrete and painting contractors and also attended the University of Montana in Missoula.
Travis reenlisted in the U.S. Army in December 2005 and was assigned to Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, l0th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), at Fort Drum, N.Y.
Travis was subsequently reassigned to Delta Company in the same battalion and deployed to Iraq again in August 2006. Travis was promoted to staff sergeant, E-6, effective May 1, 2007.
Travis was all Army, all Infantry. One of his recommendations for an award describes Travis' enthusiasm for his profession. It reads:During Operation Iraqi Freedom, CPL Atkins skillfully led his fire team on a raid in Southern Baghdad. During the raid his team was tasked with clearing a mosque reported to house up to thirty armed Iraqi suicide fighters. Leading from the front, using speed and violence of action, CPL Atkins' team successfully seized and secured the Brigade Task Force objective, capturing all personnel inside by surprise. His team was able to find several weapons, uniforms and intel.Travis received numerous awards and decorations during his relatively short military career, including the Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Combat Infantryman's Badge and Air Assault Badge.
Travis loved to hunt, fish, camp and snowmobile. He was a superb marksman, a crafty fisherman, a skillful camper and an extreme snowmobiler.
As much as he loved the outdoors, Travis' first love was for his 11-year-old, Trevor. He cherished the time he could spend with Trevor and included Trevor in all of his outdoor activities.
Travis was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents and his paternal grandfather.
He is survived by his son, Trevor Oliver of Coon Rapids, Minn.; his parents, John (Jack) and Elaine Atkins of Bozeman; his sister, Jennifer (David) Schultz of Vancouver, Wash.; his paternal grandmother, Virginia Atkins of Hartford, Conn.; his paternal uncle and aunt, Sumner and Carolyn Atkins, of Marco Island, Fla., and his maternal uncle and aunt, Ephriam and Marion Frankel of Milwaukee, Wis.
Visitation will be held at Dahl Funeral Chapel in Bozeman from noon until 7 p.m. on Monday, June 11, 2007. The family will be present at the visitation to greet friends from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. A Vigil Service will be held at 7 p.m. Monday at Dahl Funeral Chapel.
A funeral mass will be held at Resurrection Parish in Bozeman beginning at 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 12, followed by interment and military honors at Sunset Hills Cemetery.
Memorials may be made in Travis' name to the Bozeman Public Library, 626 E. Main St., Bozeman, MT 59715, for the benefit of the military history section and the landscaping fund.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle from Jun. 10 to Jun. 11, 2007.