Defense Chief Apologizes to Medal of Honor Soldier
We lost your paperwork, says Chuck Hagel
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2013 5:39 PM CDT
President Obama awards the Medal of Honor to former Army Capt. William D. Swenson Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – Yesterday, Former Army Capt. William Swenson got the Medal of Honor for bravery from President Obama. Today, Swenson got a personal apology from the secretary of defense for taking so long to recognize his actions, reports the AP. Defense chief Chuck Hagel said Swenson's paperwork got lost in the bureaucracy of the Pentagon after he was first nominated for the military's highest honor in 2009. “It was wrong; they corrected it; they fixed it," said Hagel. “We’re sorry you and your family had to endure through that.”

But is that the only explanation? The Washington Post notes that Swenson's supporters think the nomination got lost on purpose because Swenson publicly called out his superiors after a fierce seven-hour battle with the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2009. Swenson said commanders failed to call in the necessary air support. It was during that battle, which led to five American deaths, that Swenson earned his medal.

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Showing 3 of 11 comments
vicar8
Oct 17, 2013 5:10 PM CDT
Classic "ring knockers" cover up of their buddies.
gssusarr
Oct 17, 2013 11:42 AM CDT
Just as in civilian life, the military has it's share of incompetent individuals whose actions jeopardize others. What happened to Captain Swenson in the delay of his receiving his award is unconscionable -- What happened to the Captain and his troops in the field is unforgivable! While so, at least Secretary Hagel apologized for a serious error by Department of the Army personnel. At the Secretary's level, and not having been in charge when the events occurred, Secretary Hagel should be praised for being big enough to stand up and say mistakes occurred -- As He did. Again, thank you Captain Swenson for being a Commander who accepted responsibility for your troops and made every effort to get them out of harm. Your heroism and that of so many serving over the past years, is all too often ignored by both those in charge and the American people.
Buckshot
Oct 17, 2013 7:26 AM CDT
The helmet cam didn't depict a MOH performance IMO the guys hauling the litter looked to be more in danger than the captain?