Alek Skarlatos

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Alek Skarlatos
Alek Skarlatos with French President.PNG
Skarlatos (center), standing with President of France François Hollande (left) and United States Ambassador to France Jane D. Hartley (right)
Born (1992-10-10) October 10, 1992 (age 26)
Residence Roseburg, Oregon, United States
Nationality American
Education Umpqua Community College[1]
Television Dancing with the Stars
Military career
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 2012 - present
Rank Army-USA-OR-04b.svg Specialist
Unit Oregon Army National Guard
Battles/wars War in Afghanistan
Awards Knight of the Legion of Honour
United States Army Soldier's Medal

Aleksander Reed "Alek" Skarlatos[2] (born October 10, 1992) is an American Oregon Army National Guardsman specialist who, along with fellow Americans Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler, a Briton and two Frenchmen,[3] stopped a gunman on a Paris-bound train travelling from Amsterdam via Brussels in August 2015. He has been awarded the United States Army Soldier's Medal from U.S. President Barack Obama,[4] and has received France's highest decoration, the Legion of Honour, from French president François Hollande as well as the medal of Arras, France.[3][5] Skarlatos competed on season 21 of ABC's Dancing with the Stars with pro dancer Lindsay Arnold, and finished in third place.[6]

Early life and career

Skarlatos is from Roseburg, Oregon, and was born to Emanuel Skarlatos, a Greek immigrant who arrived in the United States as a child,[7] and his ex-wife, Heidi Hansen. Skarlatos has a stepmother, Karen Skarlatos, and stepfather, Tom Hansen.[8][9] Skarlatos graduated from Roseburg High School.

Skarlatos has been in the Oregon Army National Guard since 2012; as of September 2015, he holds the rank of Specialist. He was previously deployed in Afghanistan for nine months.[8][7][10] The acting adjutant general of Oregon has referred to Skarlatos as "a true citizen soldier who displayed the courage each of us would hope to find in ourselves."[11]

2015 Thalys train attack

On 21 August 2015, Skarlatos and two friends from his childhood home of Carmichael, California,[12] were traveling together during a vacation in Europe. He was recently back from Afghanistan, and had been traveling in Germany and the Netherlands and was to travel to Greece.[9] Skarlatos was sitting on a window seat[13] of Thalys train 9364 from Amsterdam bound to Paris via Brussels.[9] A 25-year-old Moroccan man, believed to be Ayoub El-Khazzani,[14] was in train car No. 12, armed with an AKM assault rifle and equipped with 270 rounds of ammunition.[15] Several people tried to stop the gunman, but failed to do so.[14] Skarlatos' friend, 23-year-old Spencer Stone, attacked the gunman first and was injured while trying to subdue him.[16] Skarlatos took action and seized the assailant's rifle,[17] beating him in the head with the muzzle of it until he was unconscious.[18]

International recognition

After the attack, on 22 August 2015, Skarlatos and his friends received international attention for their actions in preventing the attack.[19] French president François Hollande awarded Skarlatos, his friends Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler, as well as British businessman Chris Norman, France's highest decoration, Knights of the Legion of Honour (Chevaliers de la Légion d'honneur).[19] Hollande said the men "faced [off] with terror" and that they "gave us a lesson in courage, in will, and therefore in hope".[19] French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve praised them for their bravery, as well as British Prime Minister David Cameron.[20]

The White House expressed gratitude for "courage and quick thinking of several passengers, including U.S. service members, who selflessly subdued the attacker..."[21] U.S. President Barack Obama telephoned the three Americans, thanking them for their heroic actions.[22] General Philip M. Breedlove of the U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, added his voice, calling the three Americans heroes for their actions which "clearly illustrate the courage and commitment our young men and women have all the time, whether they are on duty or on leave."[23]

Kevin Johnson, mayor of Sacramento, California, held a parade to honor Skarlatos, Sadler, Stone, and the victims of the September 11 attacks.[24] Megyn Kelly of Fox News Channel's The Kelly File, asked Skarlatos whether he had a different appreciation of what happened when the World Trade Center collapsed. "I feel so much more connected to terrorist attacks and things like that and victims of terrorist attacks," said Skarlatos, "That easily could have been us if any one of six or seven things went a different way."[25]

Dancing with the Stars

Skarlatos was announced as a competitor in season 21 of Dancing with the Stars. He was partnered with professional dancer Lindsay Arnold.[26] He said that he was inspired to participate on the show by Noah Galloway, a soldier who was on the previous season of the series.[27] Skarlatos and Arnold made it to the finals of the show and finished in third place.

Week # Dance/Song Judges' score Result
Inaba Hough Tonioli
1 Foxtrot/ "Ten Feet Tall" 8 7 7 No Elimination
2 Jazz/ "Don't Stop Believin"
Quickstep/ "American Girl"
8
7
7
7
8
8
Safe
3 Tango / "Bad Things" 8 81/9 8 Safe
4 Paso Doble / "Wake Me Up" 8 8 8 Safe
52 Rumba / "Let It Go" 8 7/73 7 Safe
6 Jive / "Jailhouse Rock" 8 8/74 7 Safe
7 Viennese Waltz / "Haunted"
Team Freestyle / "Ghostbusters"
9
9
8
10
8
9
Safe
8 Contemporary / "Holding Out for a Hero"
Samba Dance-Off / "Lean On"
9
No
8
Extra
8
Points
Safe
9 Salsa / "Back It Up"
Team-Up Dance (Paso Doble) / "We Will Rock You"
8
8
8
8
8
8
Safe
10
Semifinals
Waltz / "America the Beautiful"
Cha-cha-cha Dance-off / "Fun"
Trio Argentine Tango / "Ex's & Oh's"
10
No
9
10
Extra
9
10
Points
9
No Elimination
11
Finals
Rumba / "The Pieces Don't Fit Anymore
Freestyle / "Marchin On"
Rumba & Tango Fusion / "A Sky Full of Stars"
9
10
9
9
10
9
9
10
9
Third Place

1 Score given by guest judge Alfonso Ribeiro.

2 This week only, for "Partner Switch-Up" week, Skarlatos performed with Emma Slater instead of Arnold.

3 Score given by guest judge Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

4 Score given by guest judge Olivia Newton-John.

References

  1. "Terror Train Hero Alek Skarlatos Oregon Shooting Hits Close to Home ... Bolts Out of 'DWTS' Rehearsal". TMZ. 1 October 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Guardsman to get Soldiers Medal for subduing gunman on train". National Guard Bureau. August 26, 2015. Retrieved September 6, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Miner, Collin (27 August 2015). "Alek Skarlatos: 'Good to be home with family'". KOIN6. Retrieved 3 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Obama lauds 'train heroes' at White House". Yahoo! News. AFP. Retrieved 18 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Alek Skarlatos, 2 other Americans receive France's top honor for stopping armed attacker". The Associated Press. The Oregonian. 24 August 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Oregon's Train Hero Cast In ABC's New 'Dancing' Cast". Oregon Public Broadcasting. 2 September 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 Carey, Stacy (6 September 2015). "Who is Alek Skarlatos of 'Dancing with the Stars'?". inquisitr. Retrieved 6 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 Bailey Jr, Everton (21 August 2015). "Oregon soldier calls from France to say 'he and his friend took down a terrorist,' dad says". The Oregonian. Retrieved 3 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "3 Americans praised for subduing gunman on European train". Associated Press. Newsday. 22 August 2015. Retrieved 4 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. https://g1arng.army.pentagon.mil/Pages/DisplayFeaturedNewsItem.aspx?FeaturedNewsItemID=2247
  11. http://www.army.mil/article/154460/Guardsman_to_get_Soldiers_Medal_for_subduing_gunman_on_train/?from=RSS
  12. "Carmichael childhood, faith unite friends who stopped train attack". sacbee. Retrieved 2015-10-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Alek Skarlatos' Terrorist Takedown: It Was Pure Instinct" (video). AssessHollywood. Retrieved 11 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. 14.0 14.1 Barrett, David (23 August 2015). "Revealed: The mystery man who tackled AK-47 assault rifle from train gunman". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Gray, Melissa; Meilhan, Pierre (22 August 2015). "Americans who thwarted train attack praised for 'exceptional courage'". CNN. Retrieved 4 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Mikelbank, Peter (22 August 2015). "'Wrong Place, Right People': U.S. Servicemen, Passengers Speak Out after Foiling Possible Terror Attack on European Train". People. Retrieved 4 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Baker, Keiligh; Baker, Darren (22 August 2015). "Crew on Paris-bound train 'barricaded themselves in their staffroom and locked the door as Kalashnikov-wielding terrorist went on the rampage – leaving PASSENGERS to take him down'". Daily Mail. Retrieved 4 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. NOSSITER, ADAM (22 August 2015). "A Shot, a Glimpse of an AK-47, and U.S. Servicemen Pounced on Gunman on Train to France". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Chrisafis, Angelique; Kassam, Ashifa (24 August 2015). "French train attack men given Légion d'honneur for 'preventing massacre'". theguardian. Paris. Retrieved 4 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "France train shooting: Hollande thanks 'heroes' who foiled gunman". BBC. 22 August 2015. Retrieved 4 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Ellis, Ralph; King, Jessica; Dailey, Peter; Seshadri, Archith (22 August 2015). "2 members of U.S. military stop Islamist attacker on train in Belgium". CNN. Retrieved 4 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Karimi, Faith (23 August 2015). "Train shooting heroes: The men who helped avert a massacre in Europe". CNN. Retrieved 4 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "Breedlove: U.S. Troops 'Heroes' in Train Attack". Stuttgart, Germany: United States Department of Defense (DoD). Retrieved 4 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Ortiz, Gamaliel (3 September 2015). "Mayor releases details for parade honoring Sacramento heroes". KCRA. Retrieved 5 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. "French train heroes discuss 9/11 during Sacramento parade in their honor". ABC7. Sacramento, California. 12 September 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. "Dancing with the Stars Season 21 Cast Announcement". ABC. September 2, 2015. Retrieved September 5, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. Glines, Carole (11 September 2015). "Terror train hero Alek Skarlatos was inspired to do 'DWTS' by last season's courageous star Noah Galloway". FOX News. Retrieved 11 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links