While on deployment to Afghanistan in 2012, Captain Florent Groberg and his unit were providing security on an escort mission when two motorcycles approached their patrol. As his team kept watch over the motorcyclists, Florent spied a lone individual walking backwards toward his team.
And when this man turned around, Florent saw that he was wearing a suicide vest.
Both Florent and Army Sergeant Andrew Mahoney rushed the suicide bomber to protect their formation. But just as Florent tackled him, the suicide bomber detonated his device, the result of which caused Florent to suffer significant nerve and leg damage, a blown eardrum, and a traumatic brain injury. A secondary bomber then denoted his device, tragically taking the lives of Army Command Sergeant Major Kevin J. Griffin, Army Major Thomas E. Kennedy, Air Force Major Walter D. Gray, and wounding others.
But having thwarted the suicide bombers’ original plan, Florent and his courageous unit saved the lives of many on their patrol and local civilians.
Florent first joined the Army with a desire “to eradicate the evil that terrorized my family and my country,” he said. He served on multiple deployments to Afghanistan and after sustaining major injuries from his heroic actions to stop the suicide bombers, Florent underwent further treatment in the States, where he first encountered Semper Fi & America’s Fund when they provided family support.
“Since then, they have helped me with different funds and most importantly they supported my translator with financial assistance [and] mental health programming,” said Florent. “[They go] above and beyond in supporting our troops, families, and allies. I trust them.”
To honor his heroism and bravery, Florent was awarded the Medal of Honor, the Bronze Star Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with three Bronze Service Stars; the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the U.S. Army Parachutists Badge, the U.S. Army Ranger Tab, and the Meritorious Unit Commendation.
“The greatest honor of my life was the opportunity to wear our military colors and serve alongside some of the finest men and women,” said Florent.
Now medically retired, Florent works for Microsoft Azure — Microsoft’s public cloud computing platform — and his future plans involve growing a strong family alongside his wonderful wife, Carsen. For everyone at The Fund, Florent’s immeasurable grit and selfless heart are an incredible example of what it means to answer the call to serve, and we honor his sacrifice and courage with the gratitude of our proud nation.