MSNBC did not air coverage of President Donald Trump awarding the Medal of Honor to Staff Sgt. Travis Atkins, who sacrificed his life and saved the lives of three soldiers by using his body to shield them from an Iraqi suicide bomber in 2007.
In June 2007, Atkins attempted to subdue a suspected insurgent when he noticed the man was trying to detonate a bomb strapped to himself, CBS reports. The staff sergeant covered the insurgent's body with his own, thereby saving three soldiers. This occurred during Atkins's second tour of duty in Iraq, as he oversaw a 15-soldier squad.
The Defense Department offers a fuller account of what happened:
On June 1, 2007, Atkins’ unit was doing route clearance in the town of Abu Samak, southwest of Baghdad, when they noticed two suspicious men trying to cross the road they were securing. Having heard reports that there were insurgents nearby, Atkins and the soldiers in his Humvee yelled at the pair, who started acting erratically.
Atkins had his Humvee pull over. The staff sergeant tried to search one of the men, but he resisted, so the two started fighting. That’s when Atkins realized the man had a suicide vest under his clothes. A short while later, the insurgent found the trigger.
Without pausing, Atkins bear-hugged the man from behind, threw him to the ground and pinned him there, shielding his fellow soldiers who were only a few feet away.
"Travis always personalized the term ‘quiet professional,'" Sgt. Aaron Hall, who served with Atkins, said. "He was a leader in the truest sense of the word."
"I want him to be remembered as the best father that anyone could ask for, and also at the same time being the best soldier that anyone could ask for," Atkins's son, Trevor Oliver, said. "He was my icon."
The president has awarded seven Medals of Honor prior to this one, recognizing bravery during World War II, Vietnam, and war in Afghanistan.
Last October, MSNBC's Ali Velshi urged his viewers to stay tuned to his show while they aired a Medal of Honor ceremony, acknowledging some viewers become "frustrated" when the network airs White House events.
"I know sometimes some of you tweet me that you’re frustrated when we go to the White House for events," Velshi said. "I will beg your indulgence when it comes to Medal of Honor recipients. These are American heroes who do deserve your time."
Fox News and CNN both aired coverage of the ceremony.