During 2019, Freedoms Foundation and the Friends of the Medal of Honor Grove are paying tribute to the living recipients of the Medal of Honor on the anniversary of the actions for which they earned the nation’s highest award for valor. The series continues with Capt. Florent A. Groberg, who, on Aug. 8, 2012, risked his life to thwart an attack by suicide bombers in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province.
Florent A. Groberg’s Medal of Honor citation reads:
“Captain Florent A. Groberg distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Personal Security Detachment Commander for Task Force Mountain Warrior, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Asadbad, Kunar Province, Afghanistan on August 8, 2012.
“On that day, Captain Groberg was leading a dismounted movement consisting of several senior leaders to include two brigade commanders, two battalion commanders, two command sergeants major, and an Afghanistan National Army brigade commander. As they approached the Provincial Governor’s compound, Captain Groberg observed an individual walking close to the formation. When the individual made an abrupt turn towards the formation, he noticed an abnormal bulge underneath the individual’s clothing.
“Selflessly placing himself in front of one of the brigade commanders, Captain Groberg rushed forward, using his body to push the suspect away from the formation. Simultaneously, he ordered another member of the security detail to assist with removing the suspect.
“At this time, Captain Groberg confirmed the bulge was a suicide vest and with complete disregard for his life, Captain Groberg, again with the assistance of the other member of the security detail, physically pushed the suicide bomber away from the formation. Upon falling, the suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest outside the perimeter of the formation, killing four members of the formation and wounding numerous others. The blast from the first suicide bomber caused the suicide vest of a previously unnoticed second suicide bomber to detonate prematurely with minimal impact on the formation.
“Captain Groberg’s immediate actions to push the first suicide bomber away from the formation significantly minimized the impact of the coordinated suicide bombers’ attack on the formation, saving the lives of his comrades and several senior leaders.
“Captain Groberg’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty at the risk of life are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect credit upon himself, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division and the United States Army.”
Groberg received his Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama on Nov. 12, 2015.
During the ceremony, the President said, “On his very worst day, he managed to summon his very best. That’s the nature of courage — not being unafraid, but confronting fear and danger, and performing in a selfless fashion. He showed his guts, he showed his training, how he would put it all on the line for his teammates. That’s an American we can all be grateful for.”
In an interview with Army Times Groberg said his goal was to make sure others remember the four men lost that day in Afghanistan: Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin, Maj. Thomas E. Kennedy, Maj. Walter D. Gray, and Ragaei Abdelfattah, with the U.S. Agency for International Development.
“Four heroes, true heroes in this case, individuals who gave it all,” Groberg said. “This medal belongs to them. It is my mission to tell everyone, ‘Thank you for recognizing me, but this does not belong to me. It belongs to them.'”
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