President Barack Obama on Thursday awarded Captain Florent A. Groberg, U.S. Army (Ret), the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry, reported NBC News. Captain Groberg received the “Medal of Honor,” United States of America’s highest military honor, awarded for personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty. The medal is awarded by the President of the United States in the name of the U.S. Congress to U.S. military personnel only. Captain Groberg received the “Medal of Honor” for his courageous actions attempting to push a suicide bomber away from harming his patrol during combat operations in Asadabad, Kunar Province, Afghanistan on Aug. 8, 2012. This occurred while serving as a Personal Security Detachment Commander for Task Force Mountain Warrior, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. Captain Groberg was severely injured from his courageous actions.
President Obama presented the “Medal of Honor,” the military’s highest honor. Obama told a White House audience that he “deployed to Afghanistan twice; first as a platoon leader, and then a couple of years later when he was hand-picked to head up a security detail. And so it was on an August day three years ago that Flo found himself leading a group of American and Afghan soldiers as they escorted their commanders to a meeting with local Afghans. It was a journey that the team had done many times before — a short walk on foot, including passage over a narrow bridge.”
President Obama went on, “At first, they passed pedestrians, a few cars and bicycles, even some children. But then they began to approach the bridge, and a pair of motorcycles sped toward them from the other side. The Afghan troops shouted at the bikers to stop — and they did, ditching their bikes in the middle of the bridge and running away.”
“And that’s when Flo noticed something to his left — a man, dressed in dark clothing, walking backwards, just some 10 feet away,” said Obama. “The man spun around and turned toward them, and that’s when Flo sprinted toward him. He pushed him away from the formation, and as he did, he noticed an object under the man’s clothing — a bomb.”
It was then that Flo’s life changed, “And at that moment, Flo did something extraordinary — he grabbed the bomber by his vest and kept pushing him away.”
Flo’s training on the track, in the classroom, out in the field — all of it came together, Obama said. “In those few seconds, he had the instincts and the courage to do what was needed. One of Flo’s comrades, Sergeant Andrew Mahoney, had joined in, too, and together they shoved the bomber again and again,” said Obama.
Obama added, “And they pushed him so hard he fell to the ground onto his chest. And then the bomb detonated.” After the bomb detonated, ball bearings and debris and dust exploded everywhere, as Flo was thrown “some 15 or 20 feet and was knocked unconscious.”
Moments later, Flo woke up in the middle of the road in shock and his eardrum was blown out. His leg was broken and bleeding badly. A comrade found him in the smoke and dragged his wounded body from the road. Flo saved many lives that day with his alertness. However, the blast claimed four American heroes.
Due to the blast, Groberg sustained the loss of 45 to 50 percent of his left calf muscle with significant nerve damage, a blown eardrum, and a mild traumatic brain injury. Groberg spent his recovery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center from August 2012 through May 2015. He was medically retired from Company B Warriors, Warrior Transition Battalion, as a captain, July 23, 2015.
Groberg was born in Poissy, France, on May 8, 1983. Groberg became a naturalized U.S. citizen, Feb. 27, 2001, and graduated from Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Md., in June of the same year. Groberg then attended the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) and competed in varsity track and cross-country. In May 2006, Groberg graduated from UMD with a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice.
Groberg entered the Army in July 2008 and attended Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga. He received his commission as an infantry officer, Dec. 4, 2008. After completing Infantry Officer Basic Course, Mechanized Leaders Course, U.S. Army Airborne and U.S. Army Ranger Schools, he was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colo., as a platoon leader.
In November 2009, he deployed to Afghanistan as part of Task Force Lethal, with responsibility for the Pech River Valley in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province. Upon returning home in June 2010, he continued serving as a platoon leader until he was reassigned as an infantry company executive officer from October 2010 to November 2011. He was then assigned as the brigade personal security detachment commander for 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. He deployed again to Kunar Province, Afghanistan, in February of 2012, with Task Force Mountain Warrior. He was promoted to captain in July 2012.