Capt. Florent A. Groberg Receives Medal Of Honor For Tackling Suicide Bomber

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
Capt. Florent A. Groberg and President Barack Obama ObamaCapt. Florent A. Groberg and President Barack Obama Obama

Retired U.S. Army Capt. Florent A. Groberg was born in France, but on Nov. 12 he was honored as an American hero for saving the lives of several of his comrades by tacking a suicide bomber in Afghanistan in 2012.

Groberg, 32, is the tenth living service member to receive the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest honor, for battlefield bravery in Iraq or Afghanistan, Associated Press reports.

Groberg was on patrol on Aug. 8, 2012, when he and his platoon sergeant, Brian Brink, realized they were in the midsts of a suicide bomber.

“He was looking in my eyes. I was eye-to-eye with this suicide bomber. I realized he was bad. I could see the bulge on his hip,” Brink told NPR.

“Then we grabbed him and threw him to the ground, and he detonated at our feet,” Groberg added.

That explosion caused a second bomb to go off before it could be placed closer to the troops.

Groberg lost about half of the calf muscles in his left leg as a result of the incident, and he underwent 33 surgeries and nearly three years of recovery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, AP reports.

"Had both bombs gone off as planned, who knows how many could have been killed," Obama said at a ceremony honoring Groberg, according to the Army Times.

"On his very worst day, he managed to summon his very best," he added. "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."

Despite the accolades, Groberg still struggles with the fact that four people died in the first explosion and he didn’t.

“We all fought those demons of, why not me?” he told NPR. “In the end, you know, it's combat. And - right - all we can do now is honor those guys and their families.”

At the ceremony, Groberg added that the medal belonged to the true heroes -- those who died in the attack.

Sources: NPR, Army Times, AP via Yahoo News / Photo Credit: Pete Souza/Wikimedia Commons, Michael Morones/Army Times