U.S. military authorities in Germany say Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone is doing well at an American military hospital where he is being treated for injuries suffered as he and others helped subdue a heavily armed gunman on an Amsterdam-to-Paris train last Friday.
James, who noted that she’d spoken earlier in the day with Stone and his mother, said that the 23-year-old would be nominated for the Airman’s Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the Air Force for noncombat.
Stone, U.S. Army Spec. Alek Skarlatos, their friend Anthony Sadler and British businessman Chris Norman, all jumped on the gunman as he moved through the train with an assault rifle strapped to his chest.
The actions of Stone and his friends “personified service before self, no question about it”, Secretary James said, noting with pride that US airmen like Stone “bind themselves to a set of core values, which are integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all that we do”.
Welsh cited the recent decision to award survivors of the 2009 Fort Hood attack as possible precedent. Nidal Hasan were eventually ruled to be terrorism, making victims eligible for the Purple Heart. He thanked the French doctors, police officers and others.
Stone and Skarlatos, along with their civilian friend, received the French Legion of Honor on Monday from French President Francois Hollande, the New York Times reported.
El-Khazzani boarded the train on Friday at a Brussels station.
In the gilded splendor of the Elysee Palace, Hollande said, “One need only know that Ayoub El Khazzani was in possession of 300 rounds of ammunition and firearms to understand what we narrowly avoided, a tragedy, a massacre”. “Faced with the evil of terrorism, there is a good, that of humanity”.
U.S. Ambassador Jane Hartley praised the three Americans, calling them heroes. “I turned around and saw he had what looked to be an AK-47 and it looked like it was jammed or it wasn’t working and he was trying to charge the weapon. I’m a medic!’ and took the guy and held him down”, he recalled.
In questioning, El-Khazzani initially said he had found a bag of weapons the night before in a Brussels park and planned to use them to rob passengers, according to Molins.