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Fort Riley soldier earns Medal of Honor

By Kristina Jackson

A former Fort Riley solider will receive the Medal of Honor in a ceremony at the White House on October 15.

Capt. Will Swenson was attached to an embedded training team in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and was nominated for the medal for his actions in a 2009 battle in Ganjgal in Kunar Province in Afghanistan.

Swenson is only the sixth living service member to receive the honor. During his time at Fort Riley, Swenson trained with a unit that would eventually work with Afghan National Security forces. He served as a border police adviser with the embedded unit in Afghanistan.

A member of the 10th Mountain Division, Swenson already had served tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan before deploying from Fort Riley and returning to Afghanistan for his final tour and the battle at Ganjgal.

On the morning of Sept. 8, 2009, Swenson and his team of border police soldiers entered the community and were attacked by insurgents.

While ignoring radio transmissions from the insurgents telling him to surrender, Swenson returned fire, directed the Afghan soldiers and also administered medical aid to another soldier.

He repeatedly put himself in the line of fire to recover wounded soldiers from the field.

Swenson also has received the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and the Army Commendation Medal for his service.

Marine Corps Cpl. Dakota Meyer, who fought in the battle with Swenson, was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2011.

Swenson moved to Washington after he left the Army in 2011.

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