On Tuesday, President Obama bestowed the highest military honor to Afghan war veteran and former Army captain William D. Swenson, recognizing his efforts to save his comrades during the Battle of Ganjgal in eastern Afghanistan in 2009.
Swenson risked his life evacuating wounded Afghan and American soldiers who were fiercely attacked by a large force of Taliban insurgents. Five Americans, ten Afghan army troops, and an interpreter lost their lives during the battle.
According to Fox News, since leaving the Army in 2011, Swenson has spent much of his time in the wilderness of Washington state, but has recently asked the Army to return him to active duty. This is a rare request for a Medal of Honor recipient.
The same Medal of Honor recipient almost did not receive this honor. An investigation is currently looking into whether Swenson’s award packet was intentionally lost in retaliation for his complaining to the Army about incompetent leadership. Swenson suggested to the Army that certain leaders put the risk of civilian casualties above American lives. Swenson said his multiple requests for air support during the Battle of Ganjgal were denied as he repeatedly put his life at risk to save his fallen and wounded comrades.