A French immigrant and U.S. Army captain tells the story behind the remarkable act of bravery that earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Son of an American father and an Algerian mother, Groberg lived in Europe until he was 12. His uncle Abdou, whom the author would visit on trips to Algeria, exerted an especially strong influence on him. A witness to the Franco-Algerian War, Abdou taught the boy that “freedom ha[d] to be earned” even it meant risking one’s life. When the author's family immigrated to the United States, Abdou joined the Algerian army to combat a radical Islamist organization, the Groupe Islamique Armé, and died in the line of duty. Vowing to be part of the anti-terrorist solution, the author enlisted in the Army after graduating from college. He began the officer training that ended with a difficult but ultimately successful stint at Ranger School. His first deployment was to the Pech River Valley in Afghanistan, “the most dangerous place on earth.” There, he came face to face with his own greenness as a platoon leader and saw firsthand the way war changed both the men he led and the Afghanis he encountered. A second deployment followed a year and half later, this time as a personal security detachment commander. During one outing of U.S. and Afghani VIPs, Groberg spotted a suicide bomber walking nearby. He sprinted toward the man and pushed him away from the delegation. In the explosion that followed, four men—three of whom were Groberg’s friends—died. The author sustained career-ending injuries and a soul-crushing case of survivor’s guilt that nearly destroyed him. In this short, candid book, Groberg—with the assistance of Sileo (co-author: Fire in My Eyes: An American Warrior’s Journey from Being Blinded on the Battlefield to Gold Medal Victory, 2014, etc.)—offers insight into the profound sense of duty that drives members of the military while celebrating one man’s extraordinary courage.
An inspiring book about heroism and sacrifice.