WASHINGTON: One of the American servicemen who helped subdue the gunmen on the attempted attack on a Thalys train in France over the weekend will receive the US Army’s highest honor for non-combat activities.
Aleksander Skarlatos, a member of the Oregon National Guard who had recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan, will receive the Soldier’s Medal “for extraordinary heroism above and beyond the call of duty,” the US Army said Tuesday.
Along with two friends, one of whom is a member of the US Air Force, and two other passengers, Skarlatos helped wrestle a gunman who had emerged from a bathroom wielding a Kalashnikov assault rifle and other weapons aboard the high-speed train.
“Skarlatos’ actions that day epitomize what we mean by a soldier of character — one who lives by a personal code where dedication to duty and taking care of others is sacred,” Secretary of the Army John McHugh said in a statement.
Skarlatos’ friend Spencer Stone has been nominated for the Air Force’s top non-combat award as well.
The actions of the passengers were hailed as heroic by officials in both France and the United States following news of the foiled attack.
French President Francois Hollande awarded the three American friends and a British man who assisted them France’s top award, the Legion d’Honneur medal, on Monday.
An unnamed Frenchman who also helped subdue the gunman will receive the award at a later date.