Our 2018 NYC Veterans Day Parade Grand Marshal

The United War Veterans Council is proud to announce that Medal of Honor Recipient Florent Groberg (Captain, U.S. Army, Retired) is the Grand Marshal of the 2018 New York City Veterans Day Parade.

Press release

On the occasion of the 243rd birthday of the United States Army, the United War Veterans Council (UWVC), producers of the annual New York City Veterans Day Parade, announced that the Grand Marshal of the 2018 parade is retired U.S. Army Captain Florent Groberg.

Born in France, Groberg became an American citizen in 2001 and joined the U.S. Army in 2008.  He received the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest military honor, for heroic acts during his service in Afghanistan in 2012.  Groberg identified a suicide bomber targeting his formation and physically tackled the individual, causing both the initial attacker and a second bomber to prematurely detonate their devices.  Groberg’s quick thinking and courage saved many lives, including those of senior U.S. and Afghan commanders. He himself was severely wounded in the action.  Medically retired in 2015, Groberg is an active advocate for veterans and their needs.

Groberg will lead the 2018 NYC Veterans Day Parade – the nation’s largest and most prominent Veterans Day event – on Sunday, November 11, along Fifth Avenue, in the heart of Manhattan. The featured service branch for this year’s parade is the U.S. Army, in which Groberg served. This year’s Parade also holds special significance, as it honors the centennial of World War One, which ended with the signing of an armistice on November 11, 1918.  Over 4.7 million Americans served in WWI; nearly 117,000 lost their lives, most while serving in France.

“Captain Groberg’s heroism in uniform and continued commitment to our veterans embodies the very essence of what service to our nation is about,” said Mark Otto, UWVC Executive Director and U.S. Marine Corps veteran. “This year, as we honor and reflect on the service and legacy of our veterans, there is no more fitting host and ambassador for our parade, both here in the U.S. and around the world.”

“It is a great honor to serve as the Grand Marshall of the 2018 NYC Veterans Day Parade,” said Groberg. “Just 100 years ago, more than 41 million lives were lost during World War One.  France, one of our greatest allies, lost well over a million citizens. As a naturalized United States citizen born in France, I truly appreciate ‘The American Dream’, and understand the importance and value of the bonds we share with our allies. As our history has shown us, alliances are forged by brave men and women willing to sacrifice their lives for the greater good of the nation and the world. God Bless America and her allies.”

Groberg joins the ranks of past distinguished Grand Marshals and Parade Honorees, including astronaut Buzz Aldrin, actor Tony Curtis, and TV legend Normal Lear, as well as local NYC heroes.

Bio

Retired U.S. Army Capt. Florent “Flo” Groberg was born in Poissy, France, May 8, 1983. Groberg became a naturalized U.S. citizen, Feb. 27, 2001, and graduated from Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Md., in June of the same year.

Groberg attended the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) and competed in varsity track and cross country. In May 2006, Groberg graduated from UMD with a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice.

Groberg entered the Army in July 2008 and attended Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga. He received his commission as an infantry officer, Dec. 4, 2008. After completing Infantry Officer Basic Course, Mechanized Leaders Course, U.S. Army Airborne and U.S. Army Ranger Schools, he was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colo., as a platoon leader.

In November 2009, he deployed to Afghanistan as part of Task Force Lethal, with responsibility for the Pech River Valley in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province. Upon returning home in June 2010, he continued serving as a platoon leader until he was reassigned as an infantry company executive officer from October 2010 to November 2011. He was then assigned as the brigade personal security detachment commander for 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. He deployed again to Kunar Province, Afghanistan, in February of 2012, with Task Force Mountain Warrior. He was promoted to captain in July 2012.

As a result of his actions, Groberg sustained the loss of 45 to 50 percent of his left calf muscle with significant nerve damage, a blown eardrum, and a mild traumatic brain injury. Groberg spent his recovery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center from August 2012 through May 2015. He was medically retired from Company B Warriors, Warrior Transition Battalion, as a captain, July 23, 2015.

Groberg’s 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 U.S. Army Parachutists Badge, the U.S. Army Ranger Tab, and the Meritorious Unit Commendation.

Groberg currently resides in Seattle, Washington and is an employee of the Boeing Company.

SOURCE: U.S. Army (updated)

Medal of Honor Citation

Captain Florent A. Groberg distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Personal Security Detachment Commander for Task Force Mountain Warrior, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Asadbad, Kunar Province, Afghanistan on August 8, 2012.

On that day, Captain Groberg was leading a dismounted movement consisting of several senior leaders to include two brigade commanders, two battalion commanders, two command sergeants major, and an Afghanistan National Army brigade commander. As they approached the Provincial Governor’s compound, Captain Groberg observed an individual walking close to the formation. When the individual made an abrupt turn towards the formation, he noticed an abnormal bulge underneath the individual’s clothing.

Selflessly placing himself in front of one of the brigade commanders, Captain Groberg rushed forward, using his body to push the suspect away from the formation. Simultaneously, he ordered another member of the security detail to assist with removing the suspect. At this time, Captain Groberg confirmed the bulge was a suicide vest and with complete disregard for his life, Captain Groberg again with the assistance of the other member of the security detail, physically pushed the suicide bomber away from the formation. Upon falling, the suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest outside the perimeter of the formation, killing four members of the formation and wounding numerous others. The blast from the first suicide bomber caused the suicide vest of a previously unnoticed second suicide bomber to detonate prematurely with minimal impact on the formation.

Captain Groberg’s immediate actions to push the first suicide bomber away from the formation significantly minimized the impact of the coordinated suicide bombers’ attack on the formation, saving the lives of his comrades and several senior leaders. Captain Groberg’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty at the risk of life are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect credit upon himself, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division and the United States Army.

Photos

President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Honor to retired U.S. Army Capt. Florent Groberg during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, Nov. 12, 2015.  (U.S. Army photo by Eboni L. Everson-Myart) – DOWNLOAD

 

Then-1st. Lt. Florent A. Groberg, officer in charge for personal security detail, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division travels in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter over Kunar province, Afghanistan (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Alexis Ramos) – DOWNLOAD

 

Then-2nd Lt. Florent A. Groberg patrols the city streets of Asad Abad, Afghanistan, in February, 2010. (Photo by Sgt. Albert Kelly, U.S. Army) – DOWNLOAD