Soldier who fought in Afghanistan will receive Medal of Honor
WASHINGTON — A French-born soldier will become the 10th living recipient of the Medal of Honor for service in Afghanistan, the White House announced Wednesday.
Capt. Florent Groberg, 32, will be awarded the nation’s highest military honor by President Barack Obama during a ceremony planned for Nov. 12.
It will be the first Medal of Honor given for Afghanistan service since Ryan Pitts and Kyle White, both soldiers, and Marine Lance Cpl. Kyle Carpenter each received the award more than one year ago.
Groberg and another soldier risked their lives in 2012 when their security detail was rushed by a suicide bomber, according to media reports and the White House. Groberg suffered injuries to his legs and spent almost three years recovering at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
During his deployment, Groberg served as commander of a personal security detachment for the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
The unit was escorting a group of officers including the brigade commander on a visit to the provincial governor’s compound in Asadabad, Kunar province.
As the group entered the compound, Groberg told the Gazette newspaper in Colorado Springs, Colo., that he saw an Afghan walking backward and acting suspicious. The suicide bomber then rushed at the brigade commander.
Groberg and Sgt. Andrew J. Mahoney, who was later awarded the Silver Star, rushed the attacker and tackled him as the suicide vest detonated, according to the newspaper.
The blast badly injured Groberg and wounded Mahoney. It killed the brigade’s command sergeant major, two other servicemembers and a State Department official, the Gazette reported.
Groberg was honored by the Virginia state legislature — he was a resident of McLean — for saving “the life of the commander and many of the men on the detail.”
He was born in France, became a U.S. citizen in February 2001 and joined the Army in 2008. He graduated from high school in Bethesda, according to the White House.