Army Chaplain Matthew Christensen was awarded the Soldier’s Medal earlier in March for tackling a machete-wielding, crazed soldier in the midst of a hostage situation in 2015.
Christensen arrived at the soldier’s house in Wainwright, Alaska, to provide counseling and found him drunk with a machete. The soldier at first intended to kill himself but increasingly became hostile towards Christensen and his own roommate.
“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,” Christensen told reporters. He described the soldier’s state of mind, saying, “the soldier I restrained that night was abused by his own father. He blamed his mother and grandparents for knowing what was happening and never stepping in and stopping the abuse.”
After the distraught soldier pinned his roommate to the wall with a machete, Christensen said, “there weren’t too many other options but to physically jump in and grab and restrain the soldier.”
Christensen expressed his “surprise” at receiving the medal to the Army Times. The Pentagon notes that the Soldier’s Medal is awarded to soldiers for “acts of bravery during peacetime.”
“Chaplain Christensen had only a moment to react and risked his own life to save the life of another soldier. His efforts made a difference and ultimately saved two soldiers’ lives,” his service decoration reads.
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