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Dublin: 16 °C Thursday 2 July, 2020

US Medal of Honour recipient asks to re-enlist in the Army

In a rare, if not unprecedented move, William D Swenson has asked US Army officials to allow him return to active service.

President Barack Obama awards the Medal of Honor to retired Army Captain William D. Swenson of Seattle, Washington yesterday.
President Barack Obama awards the Medal of Honor to retired Army Captain William D. Swenson of Seattle, Washington yesterday.
Image: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

A US ARMY Captain who was yesterday awarded the Medal of Honour has asked to be redeployed.

Capt William D Swenson’s heroics in a gun battle against the Taliban in 2009 were caught on video. The fire fight near the Afghanistan/Pakistan border claimed the lives of five Americans, 10 Afghan army troops and an interpreter.

Swenson risked his life numerous times to save lives and recover bodies of fellow troops during the battle.

Swenson was awarded the US military’s highest award last night, with President Barack Obama saying that Swenson “reminds us of what American can be at its best”.

You’re an example to everyone in this city and to our whole country of the professionalism and patriotism that we should strive for, whether we wear a uniform or not, not just on particular occasions but all the time.


In a rare move, Swenson has asked to be redeployed, two officials told The Associated Press.

It is believed the US Army is working with Swenson to allow the return.

Swenson, 34, left the military in February 2011 as a captain, but he could rise to the rank of major once he rejoins. In order to return to active duty, Swenson will have to pass a physical, a drug test and other routine reviews. Officials are optimistic it would all fall into place.

US Defence officials have said that they are “unsure” if a Medal of Honour recipient as ever gone back on active duty.

Swenson became just the eighth person to receive the Medal of Honour in the Afghanistan War. He had previously received a Purple Heart for having been wounded in action and a Bronze Star for “heroic achievement or service”.

Read: What is it like to be a woman kidnapped by the Taliban?

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