One of the American soldiers who last week helped take down a jihadist on a French high-speed train will receive the US military's highest award for special heroic action outside service.
The US Army says Aleksander Skarlatos, a member of the National Guard in Oregon and recently returned from Afghanistan, will receive the Soldiers Medal "for extraordinary heroism above and beyond the call of duty." The medal's citation reads, in part, that "Spc. Skarlatos distinguished himself in a courageous manner, voluntarily accepting risk to his own life," and that his "brave actions prevented a potentially catastrophic loss of life."
"On behalf of our Army, I commend Spc. Aleksander Skarlatos for his heroic actions Friday that saved hundreds of lives by awarding him the Soldier's Medal," said Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley. "His extraordinarily heroic effort, at the risk to his own life, truly exemplifies our Army Values. I am proud to call you a hero and a soldier."
Together with two childhood friends and two other passengers Skarlatos helped get the 25-year-old Ayoub El Khazzani disarmed and onto the floor. He came from the train toilet, armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and other weapons.
After the incident, Skarlatos went through a checkup at a US military base in Germany with one of the friends, Spencer Stone, who was treated for hand and eye injuries after the fight with the perpetrator.
Stone has been awarded the US Air Force's highest award for heroic action outside service.
Previously they have also been been awarded France's most prestigious medal - Légion d'Honneur (Legion of Honour) for their efforts.
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