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Character Education: Interview with Medal of Honor Recipient Lieutenant Colonel William D. Swenson (Afghanistan)

Wednesday, December 9, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EST

Character Education: Interview with Medal of Honor Recipient Lieutenant Colonel William D. Swenson (Afghanistan)

Hosted by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society

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Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation.
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Please watch an edWebinar interview with Medal of Honor Recipient Lieutenant Colonel William D. Swenson (Afghanistan). Lieutenant Colonel Swenson was awarded the Medal of Honor for risking his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving in Afghanistan.

Interviews with Medal of Honor Recipients are part of the Medal of Honor Character Development Program, a free program that helps middle – high school students build character and promotes responsible citizenship. The Medal of Honor is awarded for “gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of one’s life, above and beyond the call of duty.” Those awarded it drew upon their deepest convictions and values in the most challenging of circumstances. Their examples of courage and sacrifice can inspire us as we face our own challenges.

Then-Captain Swenson risked his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving in Afghanistan in 2009. Enemy fighters had ambushed Captain Swenson’s combat team as it moved on foot into the village of Ganjgal for a meeting with village elders. As the enemy unleashed grenades, mortar, and machine gun fire, Captain Swenson immediately returned fire and directed the response of his Afghan Border Police while simultaneously calling in support. He coordinated air assets, indirect fire support, and medical evacuation helicopter support. Captain Swenson ignored enemy radio transmissions demanding surrender and maneuvered to render medical aid to a wounded fellow soldier. With complete disregard for his own safety, he then led a team into the kill zone to recover more wounded and search for four missing comrades. 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.

Here are ways you can share this inspiring story and interview with your middle – high school students:

  • Share Lieutenant Colonel Swenson’s story with your class.
  • Watch the edWebinar above to share and discuss with your class.
  • Take advantage of the free lessons provided by the Medal of Honor Character Development Program. For shortened activities specifically for you to use while learning has shifted to an online format, follow the Character Development Program on Facebook.
  • Please note that students are not permitted to log into the edWebinar, to protect student privacy.

This recorded edWebinar will be of interest to all teachers and school and district leaders for their middle – high school students.

 

William SwensonAbout the Presenter

Captain William D. Swenson distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving during combat operations 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 Captain Swenson’s combat team as it moved on foot into the village of Ganjgal for a meeting with village elders. As the enemy unleashed a barrage of rocket-propelled grenade, mortar and machine gun fire, Captain Swenson immediately returned fire and coordinated and directed the response of his Afghan Border Police, while simultaneously calling in suppressive artillery fire and aviation support. After the enemy effectively flanked Coalition Forces, Captain Swenson repeatedly called for smoke to cover the withdrawal of the forward elements. Surrounded on three sides by enemy forces inflicting effective and accurate fire, Captain Swenson coordinated air assets, indirect fire support and medical evacuation helicopter support to allow for the evacuation of the wounded. Captain Swenson ignored enemy radio transmissions demanding surrender and maneuvered to render medical aid to a wounded fellow soldier. Captain Swenson stopped administering aid long enough to throw a grenade at approaching enemy forces, before assisting with moving the soldier for air evacuation. With complete disregard for his own safety, Captain Swenson unhesitatingly led a team in an unarmored vehicle into the kill zone, exposing himself to enemy fire on at least two occasions, to recover the wounded and search for four missing comrades. After using aviation support to mark locations of fallen and wounded comrades, it became clear that ground recovery of the fallen was required due to heavy enemy fire on helicopter landing zones. Captain Swenson’s team returned to the kill zone another time in a Humvee. Captain Swenson voluntarily exited the vehicle, exposing himself to enemy fire, to locate and recover 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. Captain William D. Swenson’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Task Force Phoenix, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division and the United States Army.

 

About the Host

Cathy Ehlers Metcalf joined the Medal of Honor Character Development Program as Vice President of Education in 2015 after serving as a Regional Curriculum Trainer. She now serves as the Executive Director of Education for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Cathy taught college-level writing for over 33 years in Southern California. Cathy’s father was a World War II Medal of Honor Recipient. Those experiences gave Cathy a great respect for both the Medal of Honor and a passion for service to our Nation’s Veterans.

 

Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation.

Join The Medal of Honor Character Development Program community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.


CMOHThe Medal of Honor Character Development Program is a curriculum resource built on the values of courage, commitment, sacrifice, citizenship, integrity, and patriotism. Its living history videos and accompanying lessons teach students that ordinary people can meet great challenges and make the world around them a better place. Each lesson highlights skills such as writing, collaboration, and critical thinking. With two available curriculum options (elementary and secondary), the resources are appropriate for K-12 students and beyond. Assignments and activities fit efficiently into existing disciplines, time periods, and schedules.

 

Details

Date:
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Time:
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EST
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