Former Army Captain Awarded Medal of Honor

President Obama on Tuesday awarded former Army Capt. William Swenson the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration, for his intrepidity during a lengthy battle with insurgents in the village of Ganjgal in eastern Afghanistan on Sept. 8, 2009. Swenson became the first Army officer to receive the medal for heroic action in Afghanistan or Iraq since 9/11 and the sixth living MOH recipient from those conflicts. Swenson was an embedded trainer and mentor to Afghan National Security Forces on that day when the Afghan soldiers and US advisors he was with came under vicious attack from a large insurgent force as they entered the village. Swenson directed air support, helped thwart the enemy’s advance, and exposed himself to withering enemy fire to retrieve a wounded colleague. He later drove an unarmed pickup truck into the battle to retrieve injured Afghan soldiers and the bodies of several fallen US troops. Swenson left the Army in February 2011, but seeks to return to active duty. In September 2011, Obama awarded Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer the MOH for the same battle. (White House blog entry) (Army’s account of Swenson’s heroics) (See also Los Angeles Times report and Fox News report.)