For every Medal of Honor recipient, there is harrowing tale of bravery, courage and selflessness behind it, but never before until now has the act that earned the recipient the medal been caught on camera.
Meet?Capt. Will Swenson, of the United States Army.
The White House announced on Monday that Capt. Will Swenson will be awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery four years ago in Afghanistan. ?According to the Army Times, the battle in which Swenson earned his Medal of Honor was one mired in controversy.
Swenson was an embedded trainer working with an Afghan Border Police mentor team on Sept. 8, 2009, when his unit was ambushed in Kunar province’s Sarkani district. The controversial battle sparked national outcry when it was learned U.S. forces on the ground were repeatedly denied air and artillery support they had requested. Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer?received the Medal of Honorin September 2011 for heroism in the same battle.
?It’s a monumental event for me, for my family and for my teammates,? Swenson said in an?Army news release published Monday night. ?This day also means lot to?[sic] those I served with.?
Swenson, who left active duty in February 2011, will be the sixth living service member to receive the nation’s top valor award for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. He will receive the award Oct. 15 in a ceremony at the White House alongside his family, White House officials said.
The grueling six-hour battle is one of the most infamous of the war in Afghanistan. At least 50 well-entrenched insurgents in the mountainside village of Ganjgal ambushed a group of about 60 Afghan soldiers, 20 Afghan border police and 13 military trainers shortly after dawn as the group was on its way to meet village elders. The enemy fighters appeared to know they were coming, and launched a fierce barrage of small-arms and rocket fire.
It was during that battle where Swenson put his life on the line numerous times to direct air support, to draw fire from his fellow soldiers, to help bring the wounded in, and to retrieve the bodies of at least four dead soldiers.
Swenson will become one of only a handful of service members to be presented the Medal of Honor while still alive.