“The whole valley was just a giant ambush. It was crazy,” says Sgt. Kevin Duerst of the California National Guard, the crew chief of a medevac helicopter whose helmet-cam recorded the mission to rescue the wounded that day.
One of Swenson’s men was bleeding to death. The video reveals how Swenson put his life on the line to signal the medevac copter.
Sgt. Kenneth Westbrook was hit in the throat and had numerous other injuries. The video shows Swenson and a medic helping Westbrook to the helicopter. Then, “Sgt. Westbrook kind of leaned down and Capt. Swenson kind of leaned down and they had, they kind of looked at each other and it appeared that they were talking, but Capt. Swenson kissed him on the forehead and then tapped the side of his head,” Duerst tells CBS News.
It would be the last time the captain saw his sergeant. Westbrook would die of his injuries a month later.
You can watch the video here. Stop the action and you can clearly see Swenson’s act of compassion.