Military Matters: Fort Drum Gym Dedicated To Fallen Soldier

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Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross after his death in 2007. 

Now, a new gym on Fort Drum is named for him. 

It's an honor his friends call very fitting.

"There is no one I know that is more deserving," said Sergeant Aaron Hall.

While serving with 2nd Brigade's 2nd Battalion 4th Infantry Regiment in Iraq, Atkins knowingly tackled a suicide bomber, saving the lives of the soldiers around him.

"He saved three good guys by doing what he did.  I don't think he would change any decision of what he did," said Staff Sergeant Joel Irby, a friend of Atkins.

His fellow soldiers say that's just the kind of guy Atkins was.

"In the end, if you had to be standing there with somebody, it would be him," said Staff Sergeant Gabriel Salinas, another friend.

The Atkins Functional Fitness Facility is equipped to train soldiers on strength, agility and self defense to prepare them for combat. 

In the gym is a picture of Atkins and a description of his actions in Iraq - an inspiration for soldiers as they train for war.

"If i'm sweating, I'm sweating for him.  It's going to be a lot of pain, but also joy at the same time," said Salinas.

The soldiers of the 2-14th will put that training to use soon.

The battalion is set to deploy to Afghanistan in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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