- The Washington Times
Monday, March 20, 2017

A U.S. Army chaplain was honored last week for his heroics during a hostage situation in 2015.

Capt. Matthew Christensen received the Soldier’s Medal during a ceremony at Fort Benning, Georgia, on March 14 for his quick thinking in Alaska on Feb. 28, 2015, when a suicidal soldier with a machete threatened to kill the officer, a second chaplain and a soldier.


A well-timed lunge by Capt. Christensen ended the standoff, which lasted hours.

“He basically told [his parents over the phone] that they had failed him in his growing-up years to protect him from his abusive father,” the captain said, Army Times reported Saturday. “Then he declared that he had three hostages, and that he was going to kill all of us that night to get back at his family. When he went to swing the machete, there weren’t too many other options but to physically jump in and grab and restrain the soldier.”

Last week’s ceremony was conducted by the 1st Battalion, 50th Infantry Regiment, although Capt. Christensen was assigned to to 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, when the incident occurred.

“What impressed me was Matt’s judgment and the fact that he waited until there were no other options until he physically restrained [the soldier] to prevent the loss of somebody else’s life,” said Lt. Col. Joel Newsom, the newspaper reported.

The Soldier’s Medal is the highest honor that personnel can receive in a non-combat situation. It goes to any person of the Armed Forces of the United States, “or of a friendly foreign nation who, while serving in any capacity with the Army of the United States at the time of the heroic act, distinguished himself.”


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