Secretary Of Defense Apologizes To Medal Of Honor Recipient

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Mark Wilson

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel apologized today to William Swenson, the Army officer who was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama on Tuesday.

Swenson was awarded the medal for the bravery he showed in the 2009 Battle of Ganjgal, one of the costliest battles of the Afghan War. Another soldier involved in the battle received his Medal of Honor two years ago. Swenson's honor was delayed because the Army lost his paperwork.

Swenson had previously complained that during the seven-hour battle, his men lacked air and artillery support, which a military investigation agreed with.

The Washington Post reports Hagel apologized today, when Swenson was inducted into the Hall of Heroes.

"It was wrong; they corrected it; they fixed it," Hagel said. "We're sorry you and your family had to endure through that."

The paper adds:

"On Wednesday, officials praised Swenson's character and Army Secretary John McHugh said he had issued a new directive aimed at ensuring such mishandling of awards does not happen again. Among the changes, McHugh said, are requirements that all medal nominations be forwarded immediately to the human resources command, which will be charged with following up every 30 days.

McHugh compared Swenson to Leslie Sabo, who posthumously received the Medal of Honor last year for valor during the Vietnam War. Sabo's nomination was lost by the Army until a reporter discovered his case while doing research and brought it to public attention, McHugh said."

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