Lt. Col. William Swenson, USA

Lieutenant Colonel William D. Swenson, USA, was awarded the Medal of Honor on October 15, 2013, for gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an embedded advisor to the Afghan National Border Police, against an armed enemy in Kunar Province, Afghanistan on September 8, 2009. On that morning, more than 60 well-armed, well-positioned enemy fighters ambushed then-Captain Swenson’s combat team as it moved on foot into the village of Ganjgal for a meeting with village elders. Surrounded on three sides by enemy forces inflicting effective and accurate fire, Swenson coordinated air assets, indirect fire support, and medical evacuation helicopter support to allow for the evacuation of the wounded. He maneuvered uncovered to render medical aid to a wounded fellow soldier while engaging enemy fighters. With complete disregard for his own safety, Swenson unhesitatingly led a team in an unarmored vehicle into the kill zone, exposing himself to enemy fire on three occasions, to recover the wounded and search for four missing comrades including three fallen Marines and one fallen Navy corpsman. His exceptional leadership and stout resistance against the enemy during six hours of continuous fighting rallied his teammates and effectively disrupted the enemy’s assault. Swenson’s actions are believed to have directly contributed to saving more than a dozen Afghan lives.