Groberg Receives Medal of Honor

Maryland Athletics
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WASHINGTON – Former University of Maryland track and field student-athlete Florent “Flo” Groberg received the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama at a ceremony the White House Thursday morning.

"The medal is the greatest honor you can ever receive," Groberg told reporters Thursday. "So I'm honored, overwhelmed, but I hope to become the right carrier for them and better myself as a human being for the rest of my life."

A naturalized US citizen who hails from Bethesda, Md., Groberg will also be the winter commencement speaker at the University on Dec. 19, 2015, University of Maryland president Wallace D. Loh announced Wednesday.

"On his very worst day, he managed to summon his very best," Obama said at the ceremony. "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. It’s why we honor Captain Florent Groberg today." 

Captain Groberg is the tenth living recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan. The Medal of Honor is the highest military honor a United State serviceman can receive.  

“Flo’s legacy at Maryland continues to extend beyond his athletic career,” Maryland track and field head coach Andrew Valmon said. “His actions while serving our country demonstrate what it means to be selfless and to make sacrifices on behalf of others. I am proud of Flo for his courageous efforts and intuition to respond in this time of need. I hope that all of the young women and men on our team can learn from his actions.”

Groberg competed for Maryland as a member of the track and field and cross country teams from 2003-to-2006 as a distance specialist. Groberg graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice.

"Flo’s college coach called him “the consummate teammate.”  As good as he was in individual events, somehow he always found a little extra something when he was running on a relay, with a team," Obama said. "Distance running is really all about guts -- and as one teammate said, Flo could “suffer a little more than everyone else could.” So day after day, month after month, he pushed himself to his limit. He knew that every long run, every sprint, every interval could help shave off a second or two off his times. And as he’d find out later, a few seconds can make all the difference." 

After graduation, Groberg entered the Army in July of 2008 and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 and again in 2012. His heroic actions came in Asadabad, Kunar Province, Afghanistan on Aug. 8 2012 while protecting a high ranking military official.

His awards and decorations include 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 Parachutists Badge, the Ranger Tab, and the Meritorious Unit Commendation.

 Watch Groberg Receive the Medal of Honor