Airman Spencer Stone, Dubbed 'Captain America,' Will Be Nominated for Medal for Train Heroics

PHOTO: French President Francois Hollande, left, awards U.S. Airman First Class Spencer Stone with the Legion dHonneur (the Legion of Honour) medal during a ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Aug. 24, 2015.PlayMichel Euler/Reuters
WATCH A First-Hand Look at the Americans Who Helped Stop Train Gunman in France

The Air Force will nominate Airman First Class Spencer Stone for the Airman’s Medal, the services’ highest award for non-combat bravery, Air Force Secretary Deborah James announced today.

On Friday two civilians and two U.S. servicemen -- Stone and Oregon National Guard Specialist Alek Skarlatos -- subdued a gunman who had a pistol and a Kalashnikov rifle with several magazines of ammunition on a high-speed train from Amsterdam to Paris.

“What the gunman didn’t expect, however, was a confrontation with our very own Captain America,” James said. “And believe it or not that is what Airman Stone’s friends nicknamed him during Air Force technical training.”

James said she spoke with Stone and his mother via phone earlier today to make sure he is doing well.

Stone is expected to recover at Landsthul Regional Medical Center near Ramstein Air Base in Germany. Stone’s thumb was nearly severed by the attacker, who stabbed him with a box cutter.

“Had it not been for this heroic quartet I’m quite sure we would be sitting here today discussing a bloodbath,” James said. "Airman Stone and his friends personified service before self, no doubt about it."

Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh said it’s possible Stone could receive a Purple Heart if it the French authorities ultimately characterize this as a terrorist related event.

Welsh cited the recent decision to award survivors of the 2009 Fort Hood attack as possible precedent.