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U.S. Marshals Service Task Force Officer Awarded USMS Purple Heart

For immediate release

Office of Public Affairs

(703) 740-1699

Washington, DC – Task Force Officer (TFO) William “Tank” Helton was presented with the Purple Heart Award from the United States Marshal Service (USMS) on January 29, 2024, in Atlanta, GA.

Helton showed exceptional courage when he was shot and injured while executing an arrest warrant in Peachtree City, GA, in 2022 with the USMS Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force (SERFTF).

The task force was executing a warrant for a suspect wanted for murder. As TFO Helton breached the front door he was shot by the suspect in the upper leg.

Helton was able to get himself to safety and another member of the task force provided immediate care, applying a tourniquet to Helton’s leg before the team was able to transport him to the nearest hospital.

Later, it was determined the round stuck Helton’s pocketknife and shattered before entering his body. Even after surgery, he will have bullet fragments embedded in his leg for the rest of his life.

TFO Helton has since returned to the field, executing arrest warrants every day with the SERFTF.

“The Marshal Service will be forever thankful for Tank and his tenacity that day,” said the Associate Deputy Director, Silas V. Darden.  “We are happy he has healed and is back working with us again in the field.”

The USMS is incredibly grateful for TFO William “Tank” Helton. He has been incredibly humble throughout this entire experience, but his skills, stature, and decisiveness absolutely saved his own life and no doubt, the lives of other members of the task force working that day.

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Additional information about the U.S. Marshals Service can be found at


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