Capt. William Swenson received the Medal of Honor this week from Pres. Obama. Capt. Swenson received his award for the same battle in which LCPL Dakota Meyer received his Medal of Honor. I previously wrote about Dakota Meyer here. Capt. Swenson exposed himself to enemy fire repeatedly to bring back soldiers trapped in an ambush. Capt. Swenson even draped the orange panel marker across his body to signal to the helicopter where to land. I am sure he did that because that was the only way to secure the panel marker against the fierce draft of the helicopter blades. Panel markers are a brightly colored cloth measuring some 3 feet by 5 feet. See CBS news story.
That is the good news. The bad news is that Capt. Swenson and Dakota Meyer received little support from their battalion headquarters. Various military publications have been writing about this battle for a couple of years, now. Two members of the battalion staff received written reprimands. Letters of reprimand will generally end careers.
Capt. Swenson criticized the lack of support. He tried to call for air support (presumably air strikes of some sort) and artillery support but he received none for some 90 minutes. Capt. Swenson later criticized the rules of engagement which he felt limited better support for his men. Probably due to his criticism, his Medal of Honor paperwork was "lost." I do not believe it was lost. Medal of Honor packets are very rare. Such a packet would have very high visibility at every staff level. Simply applying for a MOH award is a big deal. But, the Army is not monolithic, as some might think. The wrong done Capt. Swenson was fixed and he has now received his much deserved award.
William Swenson, retired since 2011, remains unemployed. I am amazed a Medal of Honor winner cannot find employment. Who would not want to hire someone with the character of a Capt. Swenson?