KIA April 14, 2012
Operation Enduring Freedom
Assigned to 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia
Army SGT Tanner Stone Higgins was killed April 14, 2012 in Logar province, Afghanistan, by enemy forces during a heavy firefight while conducting combat operations. He was leading an assault against an enemy compound when he was mortally wounded by small arms fire. Tanner was on his fifth deployment, four to Afghanistan and one to Iraq.
After graduating from high school, Tanner enlisted in the Army in October 2007. He completed One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning, Georgia as an infantryman. After graduating from the Basic Airborne Course there, he was assigned to the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program also at Fort Benning. Tanner graduated from the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program, U.S. Army Ranger Course, Emergency Medical Technician Basic Course, U.S. Army Sniper School, and was the Distinguished Leadership Awardee in the Warrior Leader Course.
Tanner grew up wanting to be a soldier. “We’d be camping and he’d put his camos on and paint his face up. We’resitting around the camp fire and he’d get real low, crawling through the woods, sneaking up on us,” said his father, Danny Higgins. “He wanted to be in the Army and he wanted to be the best,” said his grandfather, Gerald Higgins, recalling one exercise his grandson finished despite having several broken toes. Back at home, Tanner proposed to his girlfriend, Shelby, and married her in October 2011. The Army beckoned Tanner yet again, deploying him on his fifth tour of duty.
Being at war had changed him. “It taught me I wasn’t nearly as tough as I acted, but that I was a lot tougher than I thought,” Tanner was quoted saying. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, and Purple Heart.
SGT Tanner S. Higgins was 23 years old from Yantis, Texas
Original portrait was presented November 16, 2014 to his parents and family during a special event hosted by the Lead The Way Fund in New York, NY
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