Medal of Honor Awardee CPT William Swenson returns to active duty

Posted on: May 7th, 2014 by Will Rodriguez 11 Comments

CPT William Swenson was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Ganjgal Valley September 8 2009.   He along with Sergeant Dakota Meyer USMC both received the Medal of Honor after the highly controversial battle.  Besides several Americans being killed in action, several officers were in disciplined for not properly responding to requests for support and CPT Swenson was very vocal over the service’s shortcomings in providing support.  CPT Swenson’s award recommendation was subsequently lost and he left the service.  Last year CPT Swenson was finally awarded the Medal of Honor and requested to return to active duty.  He will be assigned to I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord as a plans officer in the Corps Headquarters.

Be Respectful, Candid and Pertinent. No Posers, No Trolls…
  • YankeePapa

    .
    …Well, now he is a thorn in some sides… and can’t be easilly crushed.  Pass him over for promotion?  Before he makes Colonel, bloody unlikely.  Transfer him to command a blanket shed in Frozen Monkey Bay Alaska?  Not a good idea.  
    .
    …Hopefully he will have a mentor with a few stars… prevent him from all fancy “window dressing” assignments.  But while excellent officers with a DSC can sometimes be “buried…”, MOH a different kettle of fish.  
    .
    …Being a 2nd Lt or PFC with MOH often an annoyance to many of the higher brass… If they make the military a career… 
    .
    …Marine Corps had a problem in the mid 1960s with a real loose cannon.  As a PFC on Iwo Jima lad had taken his BAR and on his own held position killing most of a Japanese company… awarded MOH….  But in later years he was a disaster… at one point taking his wife and kids and going UA for a few weeks.  Marine Corps limped him along to earliest possible retirement.    
    .
    …I applaud Captain Swenson’s decision to return to duty.  I hope that he achieves all that he is capable of… 
    .
    -YP-

  • KineticFury

    I read that out of the 10 men who were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions in Afghanistan, 5 earned it in Kunar province. Will be interesting to watch his career as he is an officer.

  • LauraKinCA

    YankeePapa He will be hated by many for being almost untouchable…. and revered at the same time….. no matter what, not an enviable position to be in. He wants his career and I wish him well. He served his country and men well and deserves his chance. Not sure he will get the chances he wants though.

  • YankeePapa

    LauraKinCA YankeePapa,
    .
    …I had the good the good fortune to spend many hours with a recipient of the Medal of Honor:
    .

    …In 1976, I was on a flight to Johannesburg,
    South Africa, by way of Rio on my way to countries farther to the North
    in Africa. It was supposed to have been a 747, but the passengers found
    themselves shoe-horned into a 707.
    .
    … At Rio, many of our passengers
    deplaned, so instead of every seat being filled, more than 1/3rd were
    empty. We took off on the long flight across the South Atlantic. I was
    on the aisle seat… a gentleman in his late 60s had the window seat. I
    suddenly realized that he was looking at me… more to the point, at the
    small Eagle, Globe, and anchor pin on the collar of my suit jacket.
    .
    … I
    was going to say something when I noticed his lapel pin. It was small,
    round, and had tiny white stars on a field of  blue. I blurted out,
    “Excuse me sir, but is your lapel pin for the Medal of Honor?”
    .

    …He grinned and extended his hand. “Justice Chambers…”
    .

    …I replied, “Not ‘Jumpin’ Joe Chambers?” I had read my first history
    of the Marine Corps when I was nine… and never stopped. He was
    pleased that this “youngster” (I was 27, but looked 18) would know who
    he was. 
    .
    …Colonel Justice M. Chambers (known to his men in WWII as
    “Jumpin’ Joe”) had served with the 1st Raider Battalion on Guadalcanal
    where he earned both a Silver Star and a Purple Heart. Other combat
    awards awaited him on Roi-Namur, Saipan, Tinian… and especially Iwo
    Jima.
    .

    …Commanding a battalion at Iwo on D-Day, his unit was at the hottest
    point and took very heavy casualties. His leadership (where leading
    by example was at a premium) and courage became a legend. His war ended
    when he was nearly cut in half by a Japanese machine gun. His
    wounds were so severe that he was retired from the Marine Corps with the
    rank of full colonel.
    .
    At first, awarded a Navy Cross, it was later upgraded to the Medal of
    Honor. It was presented to him by President Harry S. Truman in 1950.
    Years after I met him, Colonel Chambers actions were the subject of a
    prize winning essay in a Naval professional journal: “One Battalion At
    Iwo…”
     .

    Colonel Chambers never stopped working… he was appointed by President
    Kennedy to a special advisory board… and now? He told me that he
    was on his way to Lesotho (a tiny country surrounded by South Africa). He
    was the American representative of the Lesotho Sugar Board and was returning to
    break in his replacement… he was at last going to fully retire.
    .

    …I was introduced to Colonel Chambers’ wife… somewhat younger… a
    lady of intelligence and grace. She had three seats to herself behind us
    and was working on a project. Except for a brief nap, I spent the very
    long (and all too short) flight listening to Colonel Chambers talk of
    his experiences in WWII. He was afraid that he might be boring me… far
    from it.
    .

    …When he talked about Iwo, he was especially impressed with the actions
    of the XO who served under him. Deaf in one ear from an earlier battle he
    should not have even been in combat… yet there he was, walking along
    the top of the beach slope in full view of his men (and the enemy…)
    Nearly suicidal, but necessary to keep the men from being pinned down.
    Somehow he survived. Colonel Chambers never spoke of his own heroism.
    .

    Before we landed at Johannesburg I asked the Colonel if he would do me the honor
    of giving me his autograph. As was only fitting, he placed it on the
    back of my Honorable Discharge from the Marine Corps.
    .
    It was definitely a flight to remember.
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    majrod,
    .
    “… had no recollection of Swenson’s nomination package…”  
    .
    …While there were many brave men in country… this was not Iwo Jima with 6,000 killed in about a month… with many recommendations for the Medal of Honor.  How often in the last dozen years does a General get a write up for the MOH on his desk…  
    .
    “…Senator, to the best of my recollection…”
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa majrodThat did not escape me…

  • YankeePapa

    majrod ,
    .
    …Have you changed your personal E-Mail…? Can’t seem to make contact…
    .
    -YP-

  • LauraKinCA

    YankeePapa  Yet another great experience. Thanks for sharing.

  • Txazz

    YankeePapa LauraKinCAWhat a great memory and a special one for Jumpin’ Joe Chambers.  Just think, he was on the final left of really retiring.  You blessed his socks off.

  • YankeePapa

    Txazz YankeePapaLauraKinCA,
    .
    …In a more perfect world I would have had a pocket recorder with me…
    .
    -YP-