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European edition, Wednesday, August 29, 2007

WIESBADEN, Germany — Some say the man would have died from his stab wounds had it not been for Spc. Anthony Scroggins.

Mainz police detective Dominique Brisbois shrugged at the conjecture — maybe, maybe not, he said. After all, the knife attack Scroggins broke up occurred in a local German hospital, so care was readily available.

But what wasn’t readily available in that hospital on that mild January night earlier this year was a person willing to step up and take charge. That is, until Scroggins walked into the waiting room, said Brisbois.

On Tuesday, Scroggins walked into the community activity center on Wiesbaden Army Airfield to accept the Soldier’s Medal, the highest award a servicemember can receive for noncombat heroism.

“I don’t think I’m different than anyone else,” said Scroggins, a producer with American Forces Network Europe. “The majority of people, if put in that situation, could not stand back and watch someone else being stabbed.”

The Army presents only a handful of these awards a year, so Tuesday’s ceremony was a big deal. At least important enough for Maj. Gen. Mark Hertling, commander of the 1st Armored Division, and Command Sgt. Major Roger Blackwood to step away from their Iraq pre-deployment work and attend.

“It speaks volumes (to) the quality of folks we have,” Hertling said in his brief remarks.

Scroggins, 24, was with his girlfriend at a Mainz hospital when the attack occurred. Police later said the victim and assailant had feuded in the past. At first, Scroggins thought the attacker was punching the man, who is Croatian, from behind. He doesn’t recall seeing a knife until just before he stepped in to subdue the assailant.

The victim, who was not identified, suffered several stab wounds to a leg, arm, neck and torso, according to German police. Scroggins walked away unharmed.

“It should be, but, normally, it’s not so common” for a person to step into the middle of a dangerous situation, said Brisbois, the police detective.

After the award ceremony, Scroggins fulfilled another civic duty: He testified in German court against the attacker, who is facing an attempted murder charge. Mainz police have given him an award for heroism.

All of the attention, Scroggins said, “is really kind of humbling.”

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