By Debbie Gregory.
Army Captain Florent Groberg, formerly of the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division, left Afghanistan in 2012 with a mangled left leg that required more than 30 surgeries, and confined him to a hospital bed for three months.
Groberg had been charged with protecting a formation of senior leaders. On August 8, 2012, an insurgent armed with a suicide vest attacked the group. Groberg tackled him and the vest exploded. The Army said his actions saved many lives.
But surviving the attack that day left Groberg feeling a big responsibility to the four men who did not survive: Army Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Griffin, Air Force Maj. Walter David Gray, Army Maj. Thomas Kennedy and Ragaei Abdelfattah, a USAID foreign-service officer.
“So what do I do now?” Groberg asked himself. “I live my life to the best of my ability for four individuals, who unfortunately did not have the same luck — if you want to call it luck.”
For his heroic actions that day, Groberg will receive the Medal of Honor. He is the third Fort Carson soldier to receive the Army’s highest award.
He joins former Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha and former Staff Sgt. Ty Carter, both of whom received the prestigious honor in 2013 for their bravery during a deadly fight in a remote area Afghanistan in 2009.
In 2009, Romesha was assigned to defend Combat Outpost Keating in eastern Afghanistan. The post was overrun by hundreds of Taliban insurgents on October 3rd. Despite shrapnel in his arm, Romesha coordinated counterattack airstrikes, killed insurgents with a Soviet-era sniper rifle he found on the ground, and made a bold 100-meter dash through a barrage of gunfire to retrieve the bodies of men who were killed. His actions saved Keating and most of its troops. Romesha was discharged from the Army in 2011.
On that same day, Carter also was wounded when fighting broke out at Keating. Like Romesha, despite his injuries, Carter braved enemy fire to rescue a wounded comrade, Spc. Stephan Mace. Carter pulled Mace to safety and dressed his wounds, but unfortunately, Mace succumbed to his injuries.
Following an Army investigation, Combat Outpost Keating was later declared to be “tactically indefensible.”