[The AP Big Story] Three Americans, two of them servicemen traveling with another friend bravely tackled an attacker loaded with guns and ammunition bent on carnage on a high-speed train carrying 500 passengers to Paris.
One beat the terrorist unconscious with his own gun.
President Francois Hollande awarded the men the Legion of Honor, France’s highest honor.
President Francois Hollande said the two Americans who first tackled the gunman were soldiers, “but on Friday you were simply passengers. You behaved as soldiers but also as responsible men.”
Hollande then pinned the Legion of Honor medal on U.S. Airman Spencer Stone, National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, and their longtime friend Anthony Sadler, who subdued the gunman as he moved through the train with an assault rifle strapped to his bare chest. British businessman, Chris Norman, who also jumped into the fray, also received the medal.
The men showed “that faced with terror, we have the power to resist. You also gave a lesson in courage, in will, and thus in hope,” Hollande said.
President Obama phoned the three men.
Ayoub El-Khazzani, 26, reportedly opened fire on the high-speed train from Amsterdam to Paris with a Kalashnikov, wounding Spencer Stone whose thumb was nearly severed but later reattached by French physicians.
The terrorist was linked to radical groups, received training with ISIS in Turkey, fought in Syria, and was on the watch list of three countries.
“I came to see my friends on my first trip in Europe and we stopped a terrorist,” Sadler told Eurovision. “It’s kind of crazy.”
Sadler said that during the ride they heard a gunshot and glass shattering in the train car behind them. They then saw an armed man entering their carriage and holding an automatic weapon as if he was ready to begin firing.
“Alek just yells, ‘Spencer go!’ and Spencer just gets up within five seconds of the guy being in the car and just rushes back there,” Sadler said. “He gets up, I get up and Alek gets up and all three of us just rush back there.”
Stone tackled the attacker to the ground, Sadler said. As Sadler, Skarlatos, and a fourth passenger, Chris Norman, jumped in to hold him down, the attacker pulled out a box cutter and slashed Stone, Sadler said.
The father of one of the hero Marines said the PC crowd has to start recognizing terrorism for what it is.