Mark Moogalian Awarded French Legion of Honor

Armenian-American Mark Moogalian, the 51-year-old Sorbonne professor who was identified by the UK’s the Telegraph daily as the first passenger to tackle gunman Ayoub El-Khazzani on Aug. 21 aboard an Amsterdam-Paris train, was awarded the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honor for bravery, by French President Francois Hollande at the Élysée Palace on Sun., Sept. 13.

Moogalian was awarded the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honor for bravery by French President Francois Hollande at the Élysée Palace
Moogalian was awarded the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honor for bravery, by French President Francois Hollande at the Élysée Palace (Photo: Laurent Blevennec/Presidency of the Republic)

During the high-speed train ride, Moogalian tackled El-Khazzani, who was armed with an AK-47 assault rifle. It is reported that he instinctively acted to protect his wife, Isabella Risacher, and managed to take the assault rifle away from El-Khazzani. The assailant drew another gun and shot Moogalian in the neck, revealed the professor’s sister, who was also on the train.

Moogalian’s heroism, along with the actions of Americans Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone, and Anthony Sadler, and Briton Chris Norman, helped save many lives. Skarlatos, Stone, Sadler, and Norman were awarded the Legion d’Honneur soon after the attack. Hollande had announced he would award Moogalian the Legion d’Honneur once he had recuperated.



  1. BRAVO! Mark (Nishan)!! You were on the Mark!!!
    B/C You Are A HERO of the WWWorld, We: Armenians, Americans, and French Are Very PROUD of You!!!!You SAVED Many Lives, Thank You, Forever.

  2. @ Joe,

    Just past Monday Sep., 13th, the NBC Today show, televised a live interview with Mr. Moogalian. The interview lasted just under five minutes. During the Q&A session, Mr. Moogalian, described in details of his heroic stunt and how he managed in tackling the assault weapon. Also, the American serviceman, Mr. Stone, was included in the interview. You could possibly watch the entire interview on youtube.

    • MSM ignored him because he was of Armenian descent.

      When the spotlight was on this story, MSM ignored him.
      He is, you know, of the “wrong” ethnicity.

      The 3 Americans and 1 Brit had 24 hour non-stop face time on news channels when it counted.
      By now the spotlight has move on to other stories.
      Nobody pays attention to this story any more.
      Mostly Armenians specifically looking for _any_ news about a fellow heroic Armenian.

      The impact of the events when they happened cannot be duplicated.

      He was ignored because he is of Armenian descent.
      If he was of some other ethnicity, there would be a TV movie in the works by now.

    • It took me a moment to realize that you are using the shorthand MSM in the sense of Main Stream Media

  3. Yes Avery, I agree. MSM has ignored many issues, accomplishments or news’ pertaining Armenians in the past and, unfortunately, will continue doing so in the future. Their aversion or objection of ,anything Armenian, is well observed to the point that it has been embedded in the Sports category. For example, on October 21, 2007 , then 3rd seeded Armenian-Argentinean tennis star, David Nalbandian, beat top seeded Swiss, Roger Federer, with the score of, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3, for the ,Madrid Masters, title. The following day, a prominent newspaper ( not worthy of my time to mention the name) reported the news and the result in the following one sentence,” Federer lost to Nalbandian, 1-6, 6-3,6-3.” Then it went on to cover the upcoming, Shanghai Classic tennis match. Now, this is not what I call a poor reporting, I call it a garbage laden, hate- filled, mucus foaming from the mouth reporting, showing Their annomosity and repugnance towards Armenians that goes back clear to biblical time. In addition, they have had numerous ‘rats’ in the past working with the US administration in making decisions on foreign policy and will continue on making decisions for the future adminisrations.

  4. Well done Marc for your heroic action. We are all very proud of you and grateful for your recovery. In some way I am grateful that you have been kept out of the limelight, firstly to protect you from further harm as you live and work in France and also to keep our Armenian comunity there becoming the target for revenge.

  5. I am very happy that he was awarded, he truly is a real hero. And we are very proud of him, but what surprized me the most is the fact that all the time the main heroes shown on American t.v were only the other 3 Americans, of course indeed they were heroes. But how come they hardly ever mentioned him (had he not started to fight back first, who knows what would have happened and it would have ended! Even if he was in the hospital and not available for any awards with others, or during interviews, they could have and should have always mentioned his name repeatedly, and could have shown his picture too. The other wonderful 3 American heroes also should have always brought him up more in their interviews with the media!

  6. I have to agree that the mainstream American media ignored him. I was one of Marks roommates in Richmond, VA in the early 80’s and just yesterday by chance I saw his name and said to myself “hey…he looks familiar! Mark is proof that you never know how a person will act in that kind of situation. Bravo Mark!

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