By Karl WeiselAugust 29, 2007
WIESBADEN, Germany (Army News Service, Aug. 29, 2007) - Spc. Anthony Scroggins was all smiles Aug. 28 as American Forces Network-Europe commander, Lt. Col. Scott Malcom, pinned the Soldier's Medal on his uniform.
Spc. Scroggins, an Army broadcaster/producer with AFN-Hessen, was honored with the medal for his selfless actions on Jan. 6. At that time Spc. Scroggins, known to listeners by his radio moniker, "The Scrogg," came to the aid of a stabbing victim by disarming the man's attacker and neutralizing him until German police arrived.
The AFN broadcaster said the incident occurred while he was waiting for his girlfriend to undergo an X-ray at Mainz's Johannes Gutenberg University Hospital. Hearing a commotion in the hallway, Spc. Scroggins said he went to investigate.
"I saw a guy bent over stabbing another guy in a chair," he said, explaining that several hospital staff members who were not far away seemed to be arguing and were not interceding. "As soon as I rounded the corner I saw the knife coming out of the victim and I came up under the assailant's arms and pulled them up the air."
While pinning the man and holding his arms tightly in the air, Spc. Scroggins said, the attacker managed to somehow pass the knife to an accomplice who must have left the hospital with the weapon.
"While I was holding him I was looking around and noticed the blood all over the floor," he said, adding that he eventually handed the man over to a doctor's custody, only to witness the man making a break for the hospital entrance a short time later.
"The guy was getting away so I chased after him ... about 20-30 yards. I grabbed him again and brought him back inside."
Spc. Scroggins said he set the man down on a chair and kept a close eye on him, along with one of the doctors, until the German police arrived.
Throughout the incident Spc. Scroggins said he felt like he "was on autopilot. I didn't think. It's that surreal. There was no conscious decision on my part.
"When I went back to my girlfriend, Bianca, she was sobbing hysterically," he said, explaining that while he was involved with the police and doctors, his girlfriend, not knowing what had occurred but aware of the violent commotion in the hallway, was told Spc. Scroggins had been "taken away by the doctors."
"It wasn't until I got back to Bianca that it finally hit me what happened," he said. After reassuring Bianca that he was OK, both of them again talked to the police about what had happened.
"The nurses told my girlfriend that the victim had been stabbed six times," Sgt. Scroggins said, adding that the doctors were convinced Spc. Scroggins had saved the man's life.
"This is just an indication of some of the great Soldiers that we have," said Maj. Gen. Mark Hertling, 1st Armored Division commander, during the Soldier's Medal ceremony at Wiesbaden's Community Activity Center.
While presenting the medal, the AFN-Europe commander described the selfless service and personal courage inherent in Spc. Scroggins' actions. "Spc. Scroggins' heroic actions show that he lives the Army values of personal courage and selfless-service," said Lt. Col. Malcom. "Military journalists, just like their brothers in arms, are risking their lives daily in pursuit of their duties on the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan. Spc. Scroggins' brave actions reflect the military training, instinct and dedication that all AFNers and other members of our American military possess."
Spc. Scroggins was recognized for his valor and lifesaving actions by Mainz Police President Franz Kirchberger in a ceremony at the Mainz Police Headquarters Feb. 1. He was also honored by the U.S. Army Garrison Hessen.
"We're very proud of him," said Lon Blair, AFN-Hessen operations director. "He's universally loved by everyone who works with him and is always willing to help everyone on the team.
"He's very humble," Mr. Blair added, saying that he was informed by the German police that the doctors were convinced "if Scroggins hadn't intervened the man would have died. In my conversations with the German police they said his actions were exemplary and they wanted to recognize his behavior as an example of one citizen intervening to save another."
"This is a huge honor," Spc. Scroggins said, adding that he would share the medal with his brother, a fellow servicemember who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"My girlfriend always calls me her hero, and after that happened, she said, 'now you're really my hero,'" said Spc. Scroggins, who was born in Modesto, Calif. "I think a hero is someone who goes out to save someone. I just did what anyone would do."
The Solider's Medal is the highest medal a Soldier can receive for non-combat related actions.
(Karl Weisel writes for the U.S. Army Garrison Hessen Public Affairs Office.)