Captain Florent “Flo” Groberg was given the nation’s highest military award, the Congressional Medal of Honor, on Nov. 12, 2015. He was the first immigrant to be so recognized since the Vietnam War.
Published just before Veterans Day this November, 8 Seconds Of Courage: A Soldier’s Story from Immigrant to the Medal of Honor (Simon & Schuster; with Tom Sileo) tells Groberg’s remarkable story of immigration, sacrifice, heroism, and brotherhood.
Groberg was born in 1983 in the suburbs of Paris where he grew up with the traditions of both his father’s family and his mother’s in Algeria. His family moved to a Chicago suburb when he was in middle school. Soon after, his beloved uncle was killed fighting for the Algerian army against a radical organization terrorizing the country. The devastating loss would continue to inform and inspire Flo’s service throughout his time in the U.S. military.
Groberg became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2001. After attending the University of Maryland, he joined the Army in 2008 and deployed to Afghanistan in 2009. He deployed a second time in 2012. In August of that year, Flo was guarding a high-level U.S.-Afghan delegation and noticed someone suspicious — a local man stumbling toward his patrol. Groberg reacted quickly and ran to tackle the man — who was wearing a suicide vest — before he could reach the patrol. Four people died in the subsequent explosion, but many others were spared.
Groberg was wounded badly and spent the next three years undergoing surgeries at Walter Reed Medical Center.
After years of rehabilitation, Groberg now dedicates his time to veteran affairs at Boeing. He directs outreach and partnerships, working to improve retention and support the ongoing battle against veteran suicide and PTS.
Seldom when we hear about the heroism of Medal of Honor recipients do we learn what motivates their actions. Flo Groberg provides that essential insight into his act of valor while honoring his four fallen brothers in arms.
“Flo’s incredible tale of bravery and service is also a stark reminder that for many of our warriors, coming home is not the end of the fight.
Flo finds a way to live, not only with his injuries, but with purpose…to honor his fallen brothers and sisters. Truly an inspiration.” — Jon Stewart.
“8 Seconds of Courage reminds readers of the resilient and courageous men and women who dedicate their lives in service to our nation. Captain Flo Groberg’s selfless commitment to his country and fellow soldiers is truly inspiring.” — Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense.
About the authors
Flo Groberg was medically retired from the U.S. Army in 2015. He now is director of veterans outreach for Boeing, where he leads community engagement in the eastern U.S. Prior to joining Boeing, he served in a similar capacity for LinkedIn. He lives in Washington, DC.
Tom Sileo co-authored two previous books about military heroes. Currently a contributing senior editor at The Stream, Sileo also spent eight years working in local and national newsrooms, including CNN. He lives in Delray Beach.
Groberg will be in the Miami area on Monday, Dec. 4, to discuss his book. He will be speaking at 7 p.m. at Barnes and Noble, 12405 N. Kendall Dr.