By Debbie Gregory.
“On his very worst day, he managed to summon his very best.”
These are the words that President Obama said, just prior to presenting Army Captain Florent Groberg with the Medal of Honor.
In 2012, Groberg rushed and tackled a suicide bomber while serving in Afghanistan.
Although Groberg has spent much of the last three years recovering from 33 surgeries, he saved countless lives on that fateful day when he disregarded thoughts of personal safety and allowed his training to kick in.
As the head of a personal security detachment in the Fourth Infantry Division, Groberg was escorting commanders on foot to a weekly security meeting at the provincial governor’s office in Asadabad, the capital of Kunar Province.
When the group approached a narrow bridge, they saw two motorcycles heading toward them, which tuned out to be a diversion from the real threat.
As Groberg tells it, “A man came out of a building walking backwards, which was eerie, and then started walking towards us. I left my post. As I maneuvered towards him, Sergeant Mahoney to my left maneuvered with me,” referring to Sgt. Andrew Mahoney, who received a Silver Star for his actions that day.
Captain Groberg confronted the man. “I pushed him as hard as I could and honestly I just wanted to get him as far away from my guys as possible. He had a dead man’s trigger, which means he had already pressed the trigger prior to walking towards us. As he hit the ground chest first, he let go the trigger and he detonated.”
The explosion set off another bomb nearby. “It was the worst day of my life because even though we defeated the enemy, I lost four of my brothers.”
The four Americans who lost their lives were: Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin and Maj. Thomas E. Kennedy of the Army; Maj. Walter D. Gray of the Air Force; and Ragaei Abdelfattah, a Foreign Service officer with the United States Agency for International Development.