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(CBS News)   Former Army captain and Afghan war veteran William Swenson, becomes only the 6th living Medal of Honor recipient after being awarded the nation's highest military honor by President Obama   (cbsnews.com) divider line 30
    More: Hero, army captain, Medal of Honor, President Obama, Afghans, Afghan war, Medal of Honor recipients, Taliban in the Ganjgal, WWII Memorial  
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5504 clicks; posted to Main » on 15 Oct 2013 at 8:17 PM (40 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-10-15 08:29:13 PM
4 votes:

The WindowLicker: This was the same battle that Dakota Meyer earned his MOH.  In fact, In Meyer's autobiography, he spent a few chapters excoriating the Army unit responsible for the team's artillery support, and praising Army Capt. Swenson.

I am very supprised that they announced this, because for a long time Swenson's citation paperwork was "lost."  It was a terrible farkup by some Army brass that primarily resulted in dead Marines and Sailor.  I thought inter-service drama and politics was going to ensure Capt. Swenson never got the recognition he deserved.


He sounds like a standup guy.  Then again, MOH recipients always are.  If more people were like this man the world would be a much better place.
2013-10-15 08:25:19 PM
3 votes:
This was the same battle that Dakota Meyer earned his MOH.  In fact, In Meyer's autobiography, he spent a few chapters excoriating the Army unit responsible for the team's artillery support, and praising Army Capt. Swenson.

I am very supprised that they announced this, because for a long time Swenson's citation paperwork was "lost."  It was a terrible farkup by some Army brass that primarily resulted in dead Marines and Sailor.  I thought inter-service drama and politics was going to ensure Capt. Swenson never got the recognition he deserved.
2013-10-15 07:59:37 PM
3 votes:
Kill box.  His superiors didn't send shiat to help them.

You stood tall Captain Swenson.
2013-10-15 09:13:28 PM
2 votes:

studs up: general tso: From the citation: "When the column was surrounded by enemy fighters that advanced within 50 meters, Swenson responded to Taliban demands for surrender by throwing a hand grenade, an act of defiance that rallied his comrades to repel the enemy advance."

Nuts


Came here to say that...but I'll just leave this

www.101airborneww2.com
2013-10-15 09:11:14 PM
2 votes:
TFA: "He risked his life to recover bodies..."


I have nothing but the deepest respect for this man, but I have to admit I've never understood this concept.

Once a man is dead, what sense does it make to send more living people to their deaths trying to recover his lifeless shell?  He's done with it - bringing bits of it home isn't going to bring him back to life. Let it go, and focus on saving those who are still breathing from a needless death. If possible come back and get the body later, sure, but not when doing so puts others in mortal danger.

If I were to die in combat, the LAST thing I would want is a single other life to be lost collecting the inanimate mass of remaining dead flesh I left behind. My family is already getting the bad news - better just mine than mine *and* that of the poor sod who got himself killed in the name of "respect" or "sanctity" or some such thing.
2013-10-15 08:58:41 PM
2 votes:
Medal of Honor recipients are often some of the most unassuming, down to earth people that you will ever meet.  They usually are not seeking out hero status prior to the incident that they are involved in.  When questioned afterwards, they often answer, " I just did what I thought was the right thing".

Makes me proud to be a veteran.

I salute you Capt Swenson.
2013-10-15 08:37:04 PM
2 votes:
From the citation: "When the column was surrounded by enemy fighters that advanced within 50 meters, Swenson responded to Taliban demands for surrender by throwing a hand grenade, an act of defiance that rallied his comrades to repel the enemy advance."
2013-10-15 08:34:19 PM
2 votes:

Klippoklondike: He sounds like a standup guy. Then again, MOH recipients always are. If more people were like this man the world would be a much better place.


I was in a unit with a number of the members of that ETT (prior to this incident).  To a man, they are/were all amazing people.

The embedded training teams are small, and tend to a relatively select group.  In my mind, they were examples of the best of our Military.  I am just sad so many of them are now civilians/dead.
2013-10-15 08:26:56 PM
2 votes:
Thanks, Obama.
2013-10-15 08:25:00 PM
2 votes:
The maddening thing is that he's trying to return to active duty.  It will be hard for the Army to turn him down, but after his criticism of his commanders, he'll probably wind up as OIC of the rifle range at Fort Riley.
2013-10-16 06:19:57 AM
1 votes:

chrylis: The WindowLicker: Dave Grossman is the most well known author on the subject. He has gone a bit overboard in places, and I would not agree with everything that he writes, but his book "On Killing" is a good intro to the field.

Unfortunately, while it's an interesting book, it's predicated almost entirely on the fraudulent writings of S.L.A. Marshall. I managed not to bookmark the dissertation I read analyzing the various arguments in favor of and against Marshall, but Roger Spiller's "S.L.A. Marshall and the Ratio of Fire" is a good overview of the issue and presents what in my mind is the most damning issue: The postcombat surveys didn't ask any questions about rates of fire and similar issues. Badly formatted but thorough overview here.


I would not discount S.L.A. Marshall's "Dropzone" either. He was one of the first to interview members of the 82nd and the 101st upon completion of the D-Day invasion. Great book, and I used his book as the principle guide for my staff ride at Normandy. The maps are great, and the account take you step by step on some of the fights.
2013-10-16 02:06:19 AM
1 votes:

2wolves: spmkk: TFA: "He risked his life to recover bodies..."


I have nothing but the deepest respect for this man, but I have to admit I've never understood this concept.

Once a man is dead, what sense does it make to send more living people to their deaths trying to recover his lifeless shell?  He's done with it - bringing bits of it home isn't going to bring him back to life. Let it go, and focus on saving those who are still breathing from a needless death. If possible come back and get the body later, sure, but not when doing so puts others in mortal danger.

If I were to die in combat, the LAST thing I would want is a single other life to be lost collecting the inanimate mass of remaining dead flesh I left behind. My family is already getting the bad news - better just mine than mine *and* that of the poor sod who got himself killed in the name of "respect" or "sanctity" or some such thing.

Beat into my head from day one of PLC was that you don't leave Marines behind.  Over and over and over again;  If there is any chance to do so you grab and go.  Justification?  Would you want to be left behind?  I wouldn't.


Not just Marines. All American servicemembers. We. Do. Not. Leave. Our. Own. Behind. It's not a matter of 'respect' or 'sanctity' or whatever you want to call it. It is a core tenet of the American military--we are part of a team and the whole team comes home, period.

Ask any ranger who was in Mogadishu how they feel about having left men behind (I have personally talked to several), or ask the families of those whose bodies were (or even better, the families of those who are still MIA from various wars) recovered by CPT Swenson how they feel about his actions and you would never ask such an asinine question or make such an asinine remark to or about a serviceman or woman who risked their life to recover the bodies of their buddies again.
2013-10-16 01:00:11 AM
1 votes:

OdradekRex: The maddening thing is that he's trying to return to active duty.  It will be hard for the Army to turn him down, but after his criticism of his commanders, he'll probably wind up as OIC of the rifle range at Fort Riley.


Well, there's the other side of the story also.  You decide:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-24543578
2013-10-16 12:04:55 AM
1 votes:

spmkk: Coco LaFemme: "If your brother was killed in action, would you want the body brought home to be buried, or strung up by his boots and used as a pinata?"


Ideally? Of course I would want the body brought home. But if it's a choice between a dead body (even if it had once belonged to my brother) being strung up by its boots and used as a pinata or another living man becoming a dead body in the course of trying to prevent that from happening, I'll take Option A every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Our first responsibility is to the living. There is absolutely no way that I would accept another soldier's death as the price for retrieving a lifeless corpse -- even if (in fact, *especially* if) that corpse had housed me or someone that I loved. I hope to God that I'll never have to bury my brother. But if I do, the funeral will be an homage to his life, not to the piece of flesh he lived it in. I would sleep much better at night -- and if there is such a thing as a soul, his would rest much easier -- if his corpse had been lost but another man's life had been saved rather than vice-versa.


It's more than some corpse you can leave. You don't know they're dead. Can you live the rest of your life without knowing you did everything you could to save them? Or if they turn out to be alive and you get to watch them being beheaded? To live with the thought of them being tortured. It has happened before. Or to tell their families we had to bug out and couldn't bring your son's body back? That you get no grave to mourn at. You don't get to tell your husband, your dad good bye.

Not everyone can stand up and ensure the answers to these questions especially when getting the answers can get you killed. That's why the ones who do are so very special.
2013-10-15 11:52:26 PM
1 votes:

thisisyourbrainonFark: Not doubting this guy deserves the medal, huge brass balls and all. But how about the other Medal of Honor recipient, any questions about his account?

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/10/14/205341/videos-contradict-medal -o f-honor.html


Well I suppose I could make a response, but it would be pretty profane.

Battlefield accounts are always going to be factually incorrect.  Eyewitnesses are the least reliable form of evidence.  When it is an incredibly stressful and mentally traumatic experience like the battle of Ganjgal valley, the accounts are going to be even worse.

What is true, is that this was a running chain of events that took place over the course of 7+ hours.  How many minutes of video footage is there?  Remember also that the footage played on the news was shot from a helicopter.  Helicopters don't like combat zones, they tend to attract bullets and end up dead.  Part of the problem was that the worst of the fighting happened when there was no Air and Arty support.

Remember also that Dakota was not the one who wrote up his MOH citation.  Numerous other military officers and enlisted were involved in producing his award.  These are people who did not have a vested interest in blowing smoke up peoples butts.  In fact, if they had to pick someone to make into an un-deserving hero, they would have probably selected anyone but Dakota.  Dakota was not the model of what a Marine should be until he went all hero during this battle.

Mcclatchy has a bone to pick with the "official narrative."  They have been disputing the award for awhile now (since Dakota made some tactless remarks about his civilian employers).  If you look at what McClatchy has done for research, you will find that they interviewed members of the Afghan National Army, and random other individuals about what happened that day.

Now, you can believe the officers and enlisted who were on the ground with Dakota, or you can believe the members of the ANA who broke and ran, and who probably also betrayed the raid in advance to the taliban.  Remember also that this is an incredibly politically contentious battle, because it was such a clusterfark.

TLDR: there are going to be inconsistencies in the various official stories.  Faulty memory, and a desire to avoid blame will ensure that the narrative is never clear.  However, the video tells very little of the story, and the people who were there feel that both Swenson and Meyers deserve a Medal of Honor.  McClatchy is just trying to publish a scoop and carry out a smear operation, but their sources of information are incredibly unreliable and have a vested interest in the truth not being known.
2013-10-15 09:58:15 PM
1 votes:
Not doubting this guy deserves the medal, huge brass balls and all. But how about the other Medal of Honor recipient, any questions about his account?

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/10/14/205341/videos-contradict-medal -o f-honor.html
2013-10-15 09:49:15 PM
1 votes:

flondrix: JohnCarter: Nuts

Came here to say that...but I'll just leave this

OK, could you please explain the joke?


Battle of the Bulge in WWII -- Germans had the Americans surrounded at Bastogne.  When the Germans demanded they surrender, US General McAuliffe gave a very impassioned, elaborate, and uplifting response:   "Nuts!"
2013-10-15 09:29:39 PM
1 votes:
As a tip of the hat to the gentleman who posted the Harry S Flashman cover, I've been reading today about how EXTRAORDINARILY overrated the Tuskogee Airmen were. To hear the media tell it, you'd think those guys had done everything but liberate Auschwitz.

But the reality is they were flying P-51s, late in the war, against undertrained, exhausted German teenagers.

They deserve applause but not nearly as much as they've received. Who's with me on this?
2013-10-15 09:17:19 PM
1 votes:
Thank you Sir, not only for your years of service, but for your unshaken and powerful courage, a courage that not only enabled you to save your fellow soldiers, but Allied soldiers that you didn't even know, and who didn't know you. Such bravery in the face of appalling enemy fire is the reason this Medal exists, and you Sir, are the reason it's being brought out today. I pin this on your chest, with full knowledge of your selfless acts, and unflinching bravery in the face of certain death, your only thoughts having been of your comrades. The love, bravery, and compassion you have shown us will not soon be forgotten, and you have obviously touched many lives during that terrible day. God bless you son.

(speech should have been something along those lines.)

/raises a glass.....SALUTE'.
2013-10-15 08:59:08 PM
1 votes:

Satanic_Hamster: Figures.  Obama gives the medal to a guy who kissed another man instead of REAL AMERICAN for killing others.


Not really funny.
2013-10-15 08:50:04 PM
1 votes:

Saners: Those comments.... they make youtube comments look intelligent.


If you think those comments are bad, don't ever read the comments from a Yahoo! article.
2013-10-15 08:43:03 PM
1 votes:
Obunghole handing out more free stuff this is news?

just kidding...
2013-10-15 08:42:37 PM
1 votes:
I'm holding out for a true hero.
2.bp.blogspot.com
2013-10-15 08:38:02 PM
1 votes:

general tso: From the citation: "When the column was surrounded by enemy fighters that advanced within 50 meters, Swenson responded to Taliban demands for surrender by throwing a hand grenade, an act of defiance that rallied his comrades to repel the enemy advance."


Nice.
2013-10-15 08:32:14 PM
1 votes:

NewportBarGuy: dittybopper: Uh, I'm pretty sure there are more than six living MoH recipients.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_living_Medal_of_Honor_recipient s

Jesus Christ that headline fails so much.

LIVING member of the action he is being awarded for. Hooked on phonics and sh*t.


Even that isn't correct. "Swenson is the sixth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.  "
2013-10-15 08:30:21 PM
1 votes:
Just in time to cover his ass over shutting the WWII memorial down.
2013-10-15 08:30:16 PM
1 votes:

Klippoklondike: The WindowLicker: This was the same battle that Dakota Meyer earned his MOH.  In fact, In Meyer's autobiography, he spent a few chapters excoriating the Army unit responsible for the team's artillery support, and praising Army Capt. Swenson.

I am very supprised that they announced this, because for a long time Swenson's citation paperwork was "lost."  It was a terrible farkup by some Army brass that primarily resulted in dead Marines and Sailor.  I thought inter-service drama and politics was going to ensure Capt. Swenson never got the recognition he deserved.

He sounds like a standup guy.  Then again, MOH recipients always are.  If more people were like this man the world would be a much better place.


Agreed.  He should be in Congress, but I wouldn't want to wish that on the man.
2013-10-15 08:23:20 PM
1 votes:
Uh, I'm pretty sure there are more than six living MoH recipients.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_living_Medal_of_Honor_recipient s
2013-10-15 08:22:58 PM
1 votes:

2wolves: Kill box.  His superiors didn't send shiat to help them.

You stood tall Captain Swenson.


This. Then His Holiness David Petraeus stuck his packet in a desk drawer and then said he 'Forgot all about it' when confronted about it.
2013-10-15 07:36:03 PM
1 votes:
In before WHY IS OBAMA WASTING TIME WITH THIS STUFF WHEN THE GOVERNMENT IS SHUT DOWN?!?!
 
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