William D. Swenson, 34, is no longer looking for a job. He has decided he’d like to go back into the Army. This would be rare, a Medal of Honor recipient on active duty. By tradition, every soldier of any rank salutes a Medal of Honor recipient. If Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passes Capt. Swenson in the hall, it’ll be the four-star who snaps off the salute.
Swenson may need Dempsey’s help to get back into the Army. He left on shaky grounds, having had the temerity to rip superior officers for failing to provide his troops with artillery and close-air support when they came under attack.
According to the Military Times, he told investigators looking into the catastrophic Battle of Ganjgal in eastern Afghanistan on Sept. 8, 2009, that higher-ups had hung his troops out to die. Five of them, three U.S. Marines, a Navy corpsman and an Army sergeant, would. So did 10 members of the Afghan forces that U.S. troops were training.
“When I’m being second-guessed by higher or somebody that’s sitting in an air-conditioned TOC (tactical operations center), why (the) hell am I even out there in the first place?” Swenson told investigators.
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