“That day was supposed to be just a simple day,” said retired Capt. Florent Groberg, Medal of Honor recipient, referring to the day his world changed after a suicide bomber attacked his patrol escort in Afghanistan.
Groberg was at Fort Benning, April 25, to be inducted into the Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame. While here, he had the opportunity to share his experience with a group of Officer Candidate students and veterans.
While serving on his second deployment, Groberg was a personal security detachment commander for Task Force Mountain Warrior. On Aug. 8, 2012, Groberg’s patrol escort mission was moving on foot for a weekly security meeting.
“When we got there on that day, things didn’t feel right,” said Groberg of arriving at Forward Operating Base Fiaz where they were to move on foot to the Provincial Governor’s Compound for the meeting.
As they approached a bridge on the way to the Governor’s Compound, two motorcyclists approached. The motorcyclists, who were being used as a distraction, stopped midway and then ran away. In the midst of watching the motorcyclists, Groberg caught sight of an individual nearing the formation.
“They came at us, dropped their bikes and started running away. At that specific moment a man came out of a structure. Young man, 18-22, walking backwards.”
Groberg immediately rushed the young man, yelling at him. The man wouldn’t look at him or respond to his yelling, said Groberg. At that point Groberg couldn’t see if he was carrying a weapon, so he hit him across the chest.
“I yelled at him and hit him, and I hit him across the chest. I felt something on his chest,” said Groberg.
Groberg was face-to-face with a suicide bomber.
“All I could think was push him out. You’re not thinking, you’re reacting, you’re doing, you’re following through,” said Groberg, who said he credits repetitive training that allowed his instincts to kick in.
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Image courtesy of US Army