National Guardsman who helped thwart attack on French train to get medal

By REUTERS
August 26, 2015 04:08
1 minute read.

A National Guardsman, one of three Americans who disarmed a gun-toting suspected Islamist militant on a high-speed train in France, will be awarded the US Army's highest non-combat medal, Army officials said on Tuesday.

Specialist Alek Skarlatos, 22, charged accused gunman Ayoub el Khazzani on the train headed to Paris from Amsterdam last week, helping to wrestle away a pistol and an AK-47 assault rifle, and clubbing him on the head with the larger gun, according to the Army.

Two people, including Skarlatos' friend, US airman Spencer Stone, 23, were wounded in subduing Khazzani, who has been identified by authorities as a Morrocan known to European authorities as a suspected Islamist militant.

"Specialist 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 announcing that Skarlatos would receive the Soldiers Medal.

French President Francois Hollande on Monday bestowed France's highest honor on Skarlatos, Stone and 22-year-old Anthony Sadler, awarding them the Legion d'honneur at a ceremony at the presidential Elysée Palace, and US President Barack Obama has hailed their bravery.


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