Moments after President Barack Obama awarded Army Capt. William Swenson the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony on Tuesday, the officer submitted a formal request asking to return to active duty.
The Associated Press says two officials have confirmed that Swenson has made the request
and that the Army and others are working with him to make it happen. The Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest military award and less than 3,500 have been bestowed in the nation’s history, many of them posthumously.
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The 34-year-old Seattle resident risked his life to help save his comrades and Afghan allies, while also retrieving the bodies of four Americans killed during a seven-hour battle in a remote Afghan province on Sept. 8, 2009.
The Washington Post reported that his award nomination was held up
for years after he criticized his Army superiors for failing to provide enough air and artillery support. He also engaged in what the Post called “a lengthy and bitter dispute with the military over the narrative of one of the Afghan war’s most notorious firefights.”
“The questions he raised resulted in reprimands for two other officers and what he and others say was an effort by the Army to discredit him,” said the Post. “His account also cast doubt on the exploits of another Medal of Honor recipient from the same battle, Dakota Meyer of the Marine Corps.”
Swenson, who left the military in February of 2011, would have to pass a physical, a drug test and other reviews before he could rejoin the Army. Officials say that should not be a problem.
Swenson was receiving his props on Twitter Tuesday.
This was not Swenson’s first military award. He also has earned the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
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