A story of valor and the making of a hero—Florent Groberg, who grew up in France, emigrated to the US, and was the first immigrant in forty years to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor after he saved many lives by tackling a suicide bomber in Afghanistan.
Florent “Flo” Groberg was born in 1983, in the suburbs of Paris. When he was in middle school, his family moved to the US, and Flo became a naturalized 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 US-Afghan delegation and noticed someone suspicious: a local man stumbling toward his patrol. Flo 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. Flo himself was badly wounded and spent the next three years undergoing surgeries at Walter Reed Medical Center. On November 12, 2015, Captain Groberg was given the nation’s highest military award, the Congressional Medal of Honor—the first immigrant to be so recognized since the Vietnam War.
8 Seconds of Courage tells Flo’s story from his childhood in France to his decision to enlist and the grueling training he underwent at US Army Ranger School. Through trial and error, he learned to be a field commander and on the front lines in Afghanistan formed close and lasting bonds with his fellow soldiers. It was this powerful sense of responsibility that compelled him to take his brave action to save lives, even at the risk of his own.
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 selfless act of valor while honoring his four fallen brothers in arms. 8 Seconds of Courage is a story of heroism, sacrifice, and camaraderie in wartime.
Flo Groberg was medically retired from the US Army in 2015. He is now director of veterans outreach for Boeing, where he leads community engagement in the eastern US. Prior to joining Boeing, he served in a similar capacity for LinkedIn. He lives in Washington, DC. 8 Seconds of Courage is his first book.
Tom Sileo coauthored two previous books about military heroes, including one about Flo Groberg, 8 Seconds of Courage. Currently a contributing senior editor at The Stream, Tom also spent eight years working in local and national newsrooms, including CNN. He lives in Delray Beach, Florida.