[ View the story "Questions linger over delayed Medal of Honor award" on Storify] Questions linger over delayed Medal of Honor award Former Army Capt. William Swenson waited four years to receive the Medal of Honor for his actions in Afghanistan.
AJAMStream· Wed, Oct 16 2013 14:58:43
The following footage, taken by a MedEvac helicopter pilot and posted by the U.S. Army, shows Swenson in battle exposing himself to enemy fire without a helmet and using a bright orange banner to direct the medical team to the location where wounded soldiers were lying:
Raw Video: Battlefield Actions of Former Army Cpt. William Swensonusarmy
Even though Swenson was told he would have additional support by air, his repeated requests for backup
that his commanders did not prioritize saving American lives because they were concerned that Afghan civilian casualties would have negative political repercussions.
"When I'm being second-guessed by higher or somebody that's sitting in an air-conditioned TOC, why [the] hell am I even out here in the first place," Swenson told investigators, according to redacted documents reviewed by Military Times.marinecorpstimes.com
Two of the officers responsible for denying Swenson's requests
letters of reprimand for their actions:
They repeatedly denied troops on the ground fire support and timely air support and failed to convey the urgency of the situation to high levels of command, according to military documents obtained by Marine Corps Times.marinecorpstimes.com
Swenson was nominated for a Medal of Honor for his actions, along with Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer, who fought with Swenson. When Meyer received his medal in 2011, some wondered if Swenson's criticism of the army was the reason for the delays in Swenson receiving the award.
Will Swenson's MoH application was "delayed" for years after he clashed with superiors, claiming the Army withheld adequate air support.Robert Rath
that Swenson's nomination had been lost and an attempt had been made to downgrade the honor:
Army officials concluded that Swenson’s digital nomination packet had been lost in the computer system for 19 months.washingtonpost.com
The evidence that his original Medal of Honor nomination was downgraded against regulations comes on top of a McClatchy investigation that found that the Marine Corps inflated its account of Meyer's deeds, attributing actions to him that were embellished or unsubstantiated or that couldn't have happened.seattletimes.com
on Swenson's behalf, including Dakota Meyer and Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, and his nomination was eventually found and put in order. Swenson, who has been unemployed since leaving the Army, accepted his medal and has requested to return to active duty.
letter to the editor, one person praised Swenson as an ideal member of the Army:
I couldn’t help but wonder why former Capt. William Swenson is no longer in the Army, let alone unemployed. His values of accountability, standing up for the truth regardless of the consequences and, most important, taking “care of your soldiers” represent everything we hope our leaders would exhibit.washingtonpost.com
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel
to Swenson for the delay in the award and applauded his actions in battle and in questioning Army superiors.
What do you think about Swenson's case? Leave a comment below.