Patriot Brigade Soldiers Honor Fallen Military Policeman and Hero
(April 4, 2011)
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Travis M. Tompkins, a 31-year-old Lawton, OK native was a military policeman assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, Task Force Dagger, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, TF Patriot based at Fort Polk, La., who died as the result of an enemy attack in Afghanistan, March 15, 2011. Courtesy Photo
|LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Mar. 31, 2011) – Comrades remembered U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Travis M. Tompkins as a dedicated family man and proud soldier with a long family tradition of military service, during a ceremony on Forward Operating Base Shank, Afghanistan, March 20.|
Tompkins, military policeman assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, Task Force Dagger, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, TF Patriot, based at Fort Polk, La., died as the result of an enemy attack in Afghanistan, March 15.
The 4th BSTB fallen hero was a 31-year-old Lawton, Okla., native, attached to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 5th Bn., 25th Field Artillery Regiment, TF Thunder, when he was killed during a complex small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade attack in Logar province.
“This memorial is about Staff Sgt. Travis M. Tompkins, but it is for us -- Thunder, Dagger, Patriot, and more specifically for the soldiers of Regulator Battery and the Law platoon -- those soldiers that have been fighting alongside Travis for the past couple of months,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. William Chlebowski, TF Thunder commander from Mount Pleasant, Pa., speaking to the assembly. “Travis was a consummate soldier and man. As a fourth generation soldier, he carried himself and performed his duty in a manner that all
|respected and admired.”|
|Chlebowski said Tompkins was a great leader who could be hard and demanding at times, but he always looked after his soldiers as if they were his own children. Many soldiers would seek advice and guidance from Tompkins, who often spoke of his love for his family and for outdoor hobbies he enjoyed, said Chlebowski.|
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Travis Park, Tompkins platoon leader from California, La., said Tompkins served proudly as an American soldier as he led his team. Remembering Tompkins as a friend and brother in arms, Park asked those assembled a question and provided them his answer.
“What defines us as men?” posed Park. “It is by the way that we live our lives, the relationships we have and the fruits of our labor. I look at how he has touched all of us, what a friend he was to many [soldiers] in the platoon and what a devoted father and husband he was.”
Park said “Sgt. T” loved to tell stories. People who knew Tompkins and spent time with him undoubtedly heard him speak about his father's military service, said Park.
“Sgt. T proudly continued his family's tradition in the military. Military life was a part of him,” said Park. “Another big part of Sgt. T was his family. His fondest memories were always of his wife Candice, his two little girls Madison and Gianna, and his father. They were the light of his life. Whenever he talked about them he was noticeably happier ....
“The speed in which he was taken makes it seem unreal. One minute he is on mission with us and the next he is gone,” said Park. “I walked through his empty room the other night, and I stood there - everything hitting me at once. But, there is a hope that I hold on to in this dark time that Sgt. T may be gone in body, but his spirit lives on, and we will see him again one day.”
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Dustin Pounds from Bogalusa, La., said he could tell Tompkins was a soldier when he first met him. After really getting to know Tompkins, it was evident why Tompkins was a soldier, he said.
“He came from a long line of soldiers. He was very proud of the fact that he was a fourth generation soldier,” said Pounds. “He spoke very highly of his father, and it was very evident that he wanted to make him proud. I believe the man and soldier he had become accomplished that.”
As did the other speakers, Pounds remembered Tompkins as an extremely devoted family man. When not working or on a mission, Tompkins often spoke about his wife and their two girls; they meant everything to Tompkins, he said.
“Sgt. Tompkins had just celebrated his 10th wedding anniversary, where he and Candy renewed their vows,” said Pounds. “He and I talked about this quite a bit in all of our bouncing around we had done since arriving in country. We had just talked about it early that morning. He was very happy and very proud.
“Sgt. Tompkins was my right hand. He was my brethren and a great friend, and he was a great friend to many others,” continued Pounds. “We will miss him dearly, but we will honor him by carrying on and continuing the fight.”
U.S. Army Spc. William Stewart, Tompkins' team member from Suwanee, Ga., said Tompkins represented many things to many different people. To Stewart, Tompkins was “a good team leader and mentor but most of all an amazing friend,” he said.
Stewart said he tried to hide his emotions most of his life. While most people he met could not tell when something is bothering Stewart, Tompkins always knew and took time to talk with Stewart. Stewart said at first he feared Tompkins because of his size, but he came to love and respect Tompkins and never wanted to let him down.
“He was firm but he had a heart of gold, which I saw in him after the first week of knowing him,” said Stewart. “I am going to miss his stories and laughs. He would always have me laughing, because he would say anything that was on his mind to anybody.”
Chlebowski spoke about what Tompkins meant to his family, Soldiers, leaders and his country and the sacrifice he made while deployed.
“In the end, he gave everything that he had for his soldiers and to provide a better life for the people of Afghanistan, and in turn, eliminate potential threats to the American people and our way of life,” said Chlebowski.
Tompkins awards and decorations include: Bronze Star Medal; Purple Heart Medal; Joint Service Commendation Medal; Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal, fourth award; Army Good Conduct Medal, third award; National Defense Service Medal; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Afghan Campaign Medal, with one campaign star; Global War on Terror Service Medal; Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon; Army Service Ribbon; NATO Medal, with Bronze Star Device; Overseas Service Ribbon, with Numeral 2; Combat Action Badge; Basic Marksman Qualification Badge; Driver and Mechanic Badge.
By Combined Joint Task Force 101
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