Captain William Swenson Honored By U.S. Military With Medal Of Honor
Captain William Swenson was awarded with a Medal of Honor by the U.S. military on Tuesday, over four years after his courageous actions in Afghanistan.
Senson was honored with the medal at a White House ceremony for his heroics during the Battle of Ganjgal Valley in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan in 2009, reported CNN. Five American soldiers died that day, as well as 10 Afghan army troops and an interpreter. Swenson is lauded for having recovered the bodies of his fallen comrades while under fire.
Shortly following the Battle of Ganjgal Valley, Swenson voiced his belief that poor leadership from those above him resulted in a more gruesome result than was necessary. He stated that he sent multiple radio requests for more air support that went unanswered. "What happened that day was a result of clouded judgment" Swenson told CNN's Barbara Starr in a recent interview. "It was a result of clouded judgment on behalf of people who did later receive letters of reprimand."
Swenson was nominated for a medal of honor years ago, but the nomination had been lost before lawmakers and the Pentagon launched an investigation into the matter. In the nomination, Swenson is said to have "braved intense enemy fire, and willfully put his life in danger against the enemy's main effort, multiple times in service of his fallen and wounded comrades, his unit, his country, and his endangered Afghan partners."
The helmet cameras of two rescue pilots captured footage of Swenson’s selfless actions on Sept. 8, 2009. In the video, the captain can be seen helping Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Westbrook into the back of the helicopter as bullets fly around and desert dust clouds the view of the attackers.
"Will Swenson was there for his brothers," President Barack Obama said at the White House ceremony. "We thank God he was there for us all."
– Chelsea Regan