When Army Captain Florent Groberg spotted the suicide bomber coming toward the senior leaders he was protecting in Afghanistan, he says,he just reacted.
“Once you realize what the threat is, it’s a simple thing,” the former Army captain said Wednesday. “Get him away because our job is to protect.”
He shoved the man to the ground. The bomb vest around his waist exploded. Groberg blacked out.
The attack took place in August 2012. It unfolded in eight seconds but it took him three years in a hospital to recover. Four still died but many were saved.
Sgt. 1st Class Brian Brink said he saved many that day.
“Captain Groberg acted in a manner that saved the lives of many of his comrades. Tragically, he could not save them all,” McDonald said. “When he was informed last month that he would receive the Medal of Honor, he said, and I quote, ‘This medal belongs to them. It’s my mission to tell everyone thank you for recognizing me, but this does not belong to me. It belongs to them. That’s how I’m coping with it mentally.’ “
Born in Poissy, France, Robert became a naturalized US citizen in 2001 and joined the Army in 2008. He is the 10th living American to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
Groberg deployed to Afghanistan’s Kunar Province in November 2009 and again in February 2012. He was helping lead an escort for a meeting with an Afghan provincial governor when his unit encountered the bomber.
With the assistance of another soldier, Sgt. Andrew Mahoney, Groberg tackled the bomber to the ground where the bomber’s vest detonated.
After three years at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and after enduring thirty-three surgeries, he has become emblematic of the sacrifices made by our veterans.
God bless this amazing American soldier!