Wednesday, September 18, 2013
President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor on October 15 to retired Army Capt. William Swenson, according to the American Forces Press Service.
The Army veteran will be the sixth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Swenson will receive the Medal of Honor, a White House press release states, due to his courageous actions and conspicuous gallantry during combat operations in Afghanistan's Kunar province on September 8, 2009.
Stars and Stripes reports President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer back in 2011 for that same battle - known as the Battle of Ganjgal Valley.
So why did it take two more years for Swenson to receive the Medal of Honor for a battle that took place on the same day? According to Stars and Stripes:
Many believed the delay was an effort to kill the nomination after Swenson was publicly critical of the command’s decisions during the battle. In 2011, after officials said the original nomination had been lost, Marine Gen. John Allen, then the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, resubmitted the paperwork.
Swenson retired from the Army on February 1, 2011. He is single, and lives in Seattle, Washington. He said of his upcoming honor in an Army news release:
“It’s a monumental event for me, for my family and for my teammates. This day also means lot to those I served with.”
Seattle television station KIRO-TV has more on the delay in recognizing Swenson for his heroic actions: