CPT William Swenson to be presented Medal of Honor

This is for his actions in the same engagement where SGT Dakota Meyers earned his.

Office of the Press Secretary
September 16, 2013
President Obama to Award Medal of Honor
On October 15, 2013, President Barack Obama will award William Swenson, a former active duty Army Captain, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. Captain Swenson will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as an Embedded Trainer and Mentor of the Afghan National Security Forces with Afghan Border Police Mentor Team, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, during combat operations in Kunar Province, Afghanistan on September 8, 2009.
Captain Swenson will be the sixth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. He and his family will join the President at the White House to commemorate his example of selfless service.
Captain William D. Swenson separated from the Army on February 1, 2011 and currently resides in Seattle, Washington. He is single.
Captain Swenson was commissioned as an Army Officer upon completing Officer Candidate School on September 6, 2002. His military training and education includes: Infantry Maneuver Captains Career Course, Ranger Course, Infantry Officer Basic, Infantry Mountain Leader Advanced Marksmanship Course, Airborne, Officer Candidate School.
At the time of the September 8, 2009 combat engagement, Captain Swenson was an Embedded Trainer and Mentor of Afghan National Security Forces. His actions were performed as part of 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd BCT, 10th Mountain Division.
His military decorations include: Bronze Star Medal with Two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with One Campaign Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with Two Campaign Stars, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, Ranger Tab, Parachutist Badge

I stole this from John Donovan’s facebook feed. Thanks, John. John also mentions his suspicion that, for whatever reason, the Bush era DoD had a strong reluctance to consider any award of the MoH to surviving troops, whereas the Obama administration has not shown such reluctance.

Interestingly, this is the second small unit engagement that has seen the award of the MoH to two participants. Both here and the battle of COP Keating were desperate fights, and both came in for widespread criticism for the way Big Army handled the fight. I have a suspicion that the scrutiny of the fights has lead to greater documentation of the actions, which in turn raised the visibility of the participants, and led to greater supporting documentation for the awards process. Of course, in CPT Swenson’s case, the awards package was “lost” leading to a delay in the decision to make the award. That’s absolutely shameful.


Filed under Afghanistan, army, history

6 responses to “CPT William Swenson to be presented Medal of Honor

  1. Krag

    This is outstanding news and well deserved by Swenson. Glad it is finally happening.


  2. Bill R.

    Glad to see this is finally happening. It is a great shame that it took so long.


  3. phat

    I have heard through back channels that Swenson was the real hero of that engagement (Not to downplay Meyer’s heroism and sense of self-sacrifice, whatsoever!). Glad to see him get the honor he so richly deserves.


  4. ultimaratioregis

    About damned time. And when you say “lost”, I think you mean “pigeonholed because he told investigators some ugly truths about how higher echelons handled supporting troops in contact”.

    At least that is what the smart money says.


  5. crazyhorse13

    Reference the Bush administration and combat awards. I think the Bush administration was hesitant to put pressure on the military to give more awards. It wasn’t just the MOH that wasn’t being awarded, valor awards in general weren’t being awarded at the rate of previous conflicts and I feel GWB was willing to let the military run things as they wished.

    Glad that CPT Swenson is finally getting the award he deserves. Will be interesting to hear what he has to say.


  6. Finally.

    Reading the AAR, his big mistake was getting in the face of the cowardly female officer, asking for her help, then being candid about lack of support.

    Note: This was an individual failure of that one officer’s part. Plenty of counterexamples, from the SOE in WWII, the nurses of Battan, to MPs in Iraq and adjunts to SF in AF.