Soldier who thwarted suicide bomber gets Medal of Honor

Captain Florent Groberg (left) being awarded the Medal of Honor by United States President Barack Obama on Thursday. Capt Groberg enlisted in the army in 2008 and served two tours in Afghanistan.
Captain Florent Groberg (left) being awarded the Medal of Honor by United States President Barack Obama on Thursday. Capt Groberg enlisted in the army in 2008 and served two tours in Afghanistan. PHOTO: NEW YORK TIMES

WASHINGTON • United States President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to a soldier who tackled and stopped a suicide bomber in Afghanistan in 2012 and saved perhaps dozens of American and Afghan lives at a devastating cost to his own.

The soldier, Captain Florent Groberg, has spent much of the last three years recovering from 33 operations, but he stood at attention on Thursday in the East Room of the White House as the commander-in-chief bestowed on him the highest commendation available to members of the American military.

"On his very worst day, he managed to summon his very best," Mr Obama said.

"That's the nature of courage - not being unafraid but confronting fear and danger and performing in a selfless fashion. He showed his guts, he showed his training, how he would put it all on the line for his teammates. That's an American we can all be grateful for."

Capt Groberg, 32, was born in France but moved to the US with his parents as a boy and grew up in Maryland, outside Washington.

He enlisted in the army in 2008 and served two tours in Afghanistan, the second as the head of a personal security detachment in the Fourth Infantry Division.

On Aug 8, 2012, he was escorting commanders on foot to a weekly security meeting at the provincial governor's office in Asadabad, the capital of Kunar province.

A man with a suicide belt approached them by walking backwards and Capt Groberg tried to push him away when the explosion went off, setting off another bomb nearby.

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2015, with the headline 'Soldier who thwarted suicide bomber gets Medal of Honor'. Print Edition | Subscribe