At a White House ceremony on November 12, President Obama will award the Medal of Honor to retired Army captain Florent Groberg. When the president fastens the medal’s light-blue ribbon behind Groberg’s neck, Obama will be doing more than honoring a single American hero. He will be reaffirming what has become a national commitment to honor a distinctive kind of heroism. Groberg, like other recent recipients of the nation’s highest military honor, risked his life to save the lives of others.
Groberg, who was born in France in 1983 and is a naturalized American citizen, grew up in Bethesda and is a graduate of the University of Maryland. He joined the Army, he has said, because he felt he owed something to his adopted country. On his second tour in Afghanistan in 2012, Groberg was in charge of a detail that provided security for the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division.