At a stately White House ceremony on Tuesday, President Barack Obama will extol former Army Capt. William Swenson’s courage and award him the country’s highest military decoration.
But beyond the pageantry is a convoluted tale not told in the official Army narrative detailing Swenson’s heroics when he and his troops were ambushed in Afghanistan more than four years ago.
Even as Swenson receives his Medal of Honor, a Pentagon investigation is unfolding into why the former Army officer’s award nomination once vanished. It has been alleged that military brass may have derailed the approval process because Swenson pointed blame at superiors in the aftermath of the costly battle.
“It’s crazy,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), who pushed for the investigation. “The last thing you should have is a politicized Medal of Honor process.”
Being candid about the battle put Swenson’s nomination in the cross hairs, Hunter said.
“He came out and was honest about what happened,” Hunter told Yahoo News. “He was critical as an officer in the Army should be. You’re not supposed to be a robot; you’re supposed to voice your opinions, especially when things go tactically wrong.”