Actions taking place throughout the duration of Operation Enduring Freedom in the provinces of Kunar and Nuristan in Afghanistan have been considered in the military community some of the most heroic and, as Army Capt. Florent Gronberg puts it, most "kinetic". "Kunar (province) is a tough place, if not the most kinetic place in the world," he said. "There's no specific explanation for it. It's kinetic." Today, Capt. Groberg will become the 10th living American to receive the nation's highest award for valor, the "Medal of Honor", since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, awarded for his bravery in the tackling of a suicide bomber in 2012.
Acting as personal security detail for Col. James Mingus, Capt. Groberg and his unit were approaching a bridge on foot when all of his men experienced a "gut feeling" that something wasn't right. Staff Sgt. Brian Brink, the platoon Sargeant, states, "Everything felt a little different that day. It was a gut feeling. We all felt it. Nobody had to say it. Things just didn't set right with us."
After hearing a car revving it's engine from behind, they spotted two men coming toward them, one bearing a bulge on his hip, with his right hand resting on the bulge. Groberg made an instinctive decision to charge at the man, throwing him to the ground, while the bomb detonated at his feet. He was immediately knocked unconscious, with half of his left calf torn away. He also suffered a blown eardrum and mild traumatic brain injury. "You face a threat, you go towards the threat," Groberg said.
With several men wounded and four killed, Groberg says that he never stops thinking about that day, and has struggled with survivor's guilt, wondering "Why me? Why NOT me?" Today, when receiving his Medal of Valor form President Obama, Groberg will honor his men whose lives were taken in combat on August 8, 2012 near that bridge in Kunar province, Afghanistan.
"All we can do now is honor those guys and their families.", he said of the four who were killed. "And make sure that we are better people, that we live our lives for them. They made the ultimate sacrifice. We're here to tell you this. I'm so blessed and honored for the medal, but it doesn't belong to me, it belongs to them."
(Article courtesy of Military.com)
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