Hall of Heroes Ceremony: Capt. Florent Groberg Speech

Hall of Heroes Ceremony: Capt. Florent Groberg Speech


Secretary Carter, Acting Secretary Fanning,
General Milley, Sergeant Major Dailey, members of Congress, Medal of Honor recipients present
and not here today, Gold Star Families, distinguished guest, my brothers and sisters in the armed
services, mom, dad, Carson, and my family friends, good morning. So if you know me, you understand the fact
that I do not like to write speeches. But I figured that I probably needed to write
something today. So bear with me. This is the first time I’ve ever done any
type of speech while looking at notes. But this comes from the heart, and I wanted
to make sure that my words were correct. Today, I stand in front of you as a proud
American, grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve and wear the colors for
our country in a time of war. I was blessed to be surrounded, trained, mentored,
led, and followed by our some of our nation’s greatest warriors. I am honored– beyond honored– to become
a member of the Hall of Heroes. I was given opportunity to spend a lot of
time with a lot of our Medal of Honor recipients, such as Lieutenant General Foley, Retired,
who graciously invited me to his home with his wife, and just made me understand what
a true honor it is to be part of this fraternity. But this couldn’t have happened without the
mentorship and guidance of my brothers and sisters. Here today, it is important for me to highlight
a few of you. So the first person I’d like to highlight
is Sergeant First Class, Retired Corey Staley, if you can stand up, please. There you are. I was a brand new Second Lieutenant. I had just graduated out of Ranger School
in October of 2009, when I drove as fast as I could across
country to Fort Carson in order to deploy and serve my country, because my unit was
already in combat. Well, I got there pretty quick. And when I
got there, I realized I didn’t know anything about anything. I was green as it gets, and I was in combat
in one of the most kinetic places in the world, and I was in charge of leading men. That man right there took me in. He showed me patience and strength. He allowed me to lead in my own way, but always
guided me in the correct path. He talked to me, he listened to me, he taught
me. He was the NCO that you need as a young officer
in order to become successful. Most importantly, he allowed me to be the
right leader at that time to bring home our boys. The next person is another NCO, Sergeant First
Class Brink. Brink is the epitome of the NCO Corps. His leadership molded our team, a team that
was part of August 8, 2012, the team that protected Brigadier General Mingus, at the
time Colonel Mingus. He was there with me to my right, to my left,
in front of me, to the rear, at all times. He made sure that I was doing the right things
at all times. He understood that sometimes I would get overwhelmed with the movements, and he
would look at me and say Sir, I got this. I’ve been doing this for a while. He was exactly what I needed. He was exactly what our team needed. He was exactly what Command Sergeant Major
Griffin He was exactly what Colonel Mingus at the
time, now Brigadier General Mingus needed. You were the right leader, and for that I will always be thankful. And I’m going to make– because I know we
have a time crunch 46:58
here, but I’m going to tell you one thing. 47:01
All you guys, please stand up, Balderrama, Secor, Ochart. And if you can, Mahoney. You talk about family. You know, I was born and had wonderful parents,
and wonderful family. But when you deploy and you’re in combat,
these individuals become your brothers. You would do anything for them. And you all are– Mahoney, I never had to
worry about a thing with Mahoney. Mahoney squared me away quite a few times. He was sarcastic at times, typical Sergeant
that looks at a Lieutenant and asks him to do something he’d do it, with a little smirk. I had Balderrama, who I owe my life to, as
well as Brink. Balderrama saved my life. Simple. I would have died that day. I was bleeding out, and he kept me awake. He gave me a tourniquet, and for that, I can’t
even say thank you. That’s not enough. Secor and Ochart, PFCs. Unbelievable. Guys that go into Afghanistan, and young,
and just so proud. And you tell them, hey, I need you to do this. On that day, I switched everything. I told Ochart, hey, you’re no longer at the
top of the diamond. You’re at the rear of the diamond, and if
something happens you take the Colonel down, you take him to safety. I don’t care what he says to you, you are
the boss now. And all he says is, roger that, sir. And he did that. Secor, hey Secor, I’m going to need you to
move to the front with Brink, even though the entire tour you’ve been next
to Command Sergeant Major Griffin. He looked at me, didn’t like it. He said, Roger that’s, Sir. He moved up there. I’m so proud of you guys. It’s an honor, honor to have served with you. And you’re brothers for life, and I love you
guys. Last person I’d like to recognize on my team is one of the greatest, if not the greatest
man that my father in the world, Brigadier General Mingus. My mentor, and the greatest leader I’ve ever
served under. And I’m going to be very short with this,
because, you’re a man of few words, sir. And I wrote it down. I want to make sure I’m saying it correctly. The way he led made everyone want to be better. His personality made our job easy. I would have, and still would, lay down my
life for you, Sir. Thank you. Lastly, the most important people here and
not here– Command Sergeant Major Griffin, Major Kennedy,
Major Gray, and Ragael Abdelfattah. On August 8, 2015, our country lost four incredible
Americans, four men that made the ultimate sacrifice, for individuals that changed lives
around them for the better. Four true heroes, for which this metal and
honor belongs to. I carry it in my heart, I carry it on my body,
and I carried it in my soul, every single day. I miss them, and I understand that my responsibility
now in this world is to live through them, and to live for them and their families, and
to be better. This is my goal. You’ve heard it many times. It will be my goal until one day I lay down
under the ground and I join them in heaven. This honor also belongs to their families,
which are here. If you could please stand up– I’m sorry to
put you on the spot. Gold Star Families. We have the Griffins, Kennedys, Grays, and
unfortunately not here but in our hearts, the Abdelfattahs. You all represent what true perseverance stands
for, and what the American spirit truly is. I told you did this– this is going off script. I told you this, and maybe recently, but the
biggest fear I always had when I came back from Afghanistan, I had two. First was that you would not accept me, because
I was not able to bring everyone home. And second, that I could no longer do my joband
bring you home, Sir. I wanted that job and I wanted to be there
till December, but I couldn’t do it anymore. These were my two demons that I live with
on that specific day. But what you represent, the Gold Star mothers
is everything of what America is. So I’m here today, and your loved ones are
not. They’re here in spirit with us, there in my
heart. They’re in every one of my guys’ hearts. Every single person that was involved that
day, they’re with them and their families. But you still came to support us, still came
to support me. We still can support each other. This honor is yours, all yours. This medal, I carry it on my body. It is yours. It is for you. And I mean it, from everything inside me. Thank you for being you. And I love you. In closing, I want to thank the Army. I want to thank my Country. I want to thank God. Thank you for the opportunity to serve and
wear this uniform. I will always do my best to better myself, and represent our flag and nation with honor. Thank you.

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