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
Defense Chief Apologizes to Medal of Honor Soldier
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.”

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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. (Read more William Swenson stories.)

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