Honoring an American Hero – Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Staff Sgt. David Bellavia, Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)

Honoring Operation Iraqi Freedom Hero

Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Staff Sgt. David Bellavia. On June 25, 2019, the President of the United States, President Donald Trump, presented the Congressional Medal of Honor to Staff Sargent David Bellavia (United States Army). SSgt Bellavia became the first living recipient from OIF to receive this honor. This distinguished honor is the highest honor given to anyone serving in the U.S. military for actions that go above and beyond their call of duty.

Iraqi Freedom Soldier SSgt Travis W. Atkins Awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor (posthumously) at White House ceremony on March 27, 2019

President Donald J. Trump awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Travis W. Atkins, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 .  

Staff Sergeant Travis W. Atkins posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his actions of June 1, 2007, in support of IRAQI FREEDOM. SSgt Atkins’ son Trevor Oliver and family will be with the Commander-in-Chief at the White House for the presentation. https://youtu.be/cOl4cmhf37U

The Army YouTube video below is about SSgt Atkins’ Final Mission. https://youtu.be/3O9fCxI0NAA

The White House’s press release with SSgt Atkins’ personal background is provided at the bottom.

Iraqi Freedom Soldier SSgt Travis W. Atkins will be Awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on March 27, 2019

President Donald J. Trump will award the Congressional Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Travis W. Atkins, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 .  

Staff Sergeant Travis W. Atkins will posthurmously receive the Medal of Honor for his actions of June 1, 2007, in support of IRAQI FREEDOM. SSgt Atkins’ son Trevor Oliver and family will be with the Commander-in-Chief at the White House for the presentation. The Army YouTube video below is about SSgt Atkins’ Final Mission. The White House’s press release with SSgt Atkins’ personal background is provided:

Office of the Press Secretary, For Immediate Release,March 12, 2019President Donald J. Trump to Award the Medal of Honor               On Wednesday, March 27, 2019, President Donald J. Trump will award the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Travis W. Atkins, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry.

No Longer Behind Enemy Lines Josh Walker Battles PTSD with Service Dog Baxter

Veteran Josh Walker of 101st Airborne questioned PTSD existence for six years before seeking treatment

Article by Ken Budd, courtesy of HumanAnimalBond.org

Before his dog Baxter changed his life, Josh Walker was suffering from night terrors. In 2005, Walker was deployed to Iraq as a cavalry scout in the 101st Airborne, enduring ambushes and firefights. The nightmares started when he returned home, along with hallucinations, fits of anger, and fear. He’d slam on the brakes when he was driving, thinking a roadside object was an IED. It took him six years to accept that he was suffering from PTSD, despite the concerns of his fiancé and family. But denial, he says, is common for many combat veterans.“If somebody I respect could accept it, maybe there was some truth to this PTSD thing.”

“If you’re suffering from PTSD, it means you weren’t strong enough.”

“You’re trained that if something is wrong with you—physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally—then you’re worthless to the unit,” says Walker, 34. “So if you’re suffering from PTSD, your mentality is that you can’t admit it because it means you weren’t strong enough.”The well-meaning reactions of people at home can also be problematic. “People buy you drinks and pat you on the back and thank you for your service,” he says. “So for you to say, ‘I’m actually struggling really bad, I’m not sleeping, I’ve got anger issues, stress, depression’—it feels like it would devalue your contribution and sacrifice.”

His attitude finally changed when he read a blog by a Special Forces combat veteran about his service dog and his experiences with PTSD. “I thought, ‘If somebody I respect could accept it, maybe there was some truth to this PTSD thing.’” He eventually entered a pilot program at West Virginia University—where he was taking classes—for PTSD service dog training. That’s how he met Baxter, the Golden Retriever who changed his life.