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Obama presents top medal to Afghanistan veteran Kyle J. White

WASHINGTON (AP) -- It could have been over for Kyle J. White just 30 seconds into the Taliban ambush, when a rocket-propelled grenade knocked him unconscious.

But he came to and by the time the four-hour firefight in Afghanistan was over, White, reeling from concussions and shrapnel in his face, had saved one comrade's life and helped secure the evacuation of other wounded Americans.

On Tuesday, White became only the seventh living recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan, the latest reminder of the post-Sept. 11 conflicts and U.S. sacrifices President Barack Obama has sought to bring to an end

"We pay tribute to a soldier who embodies the courage of his generation," Obama said.

With the medal, White, who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome after the ambush, also draws attention to the recent scrutiny confronting the Veteran's Affairs health care system and allegations of lapses in care and delays in mental health treatment.

Though Obama did not mention the VA controversies specifically, he told White: "You did your duty, and now it's time for America to do ours: after more than a decade of war, to welcome you home with the support and the benefits and opportunities that you've earned."

Following the ceremony, White, 27, said the valor belonged to all the members of his platoon that day.

"Battles are won by spirit," he said. "Without the team, there can be no Medal of Honor. That's why I wear this medal for my team."

An Army account of the attack says White, then a 20-year-old Army specialist, and his team of 14 U.S. troops, along with Afghan National Army soldiers, were ambushed Nov. 9, 2007, after attempting to hold a meeting with village elders in the village of Aranas in Nuristan province.

After regaining consciousness from the grenade hit, White found his platoon split by the ambush. Half the team had slid down the cliff for cover. He remained atop with three dead, dying and wounded comrades.

Left at the top with White were platoon leader 1st Lt. Matthew C. Ferrara, Spc. Kain Schilling, Marine Sgt. Phillip A. Bocks, who was imbedded with the group, and its interpreter. White set about trying to assess the condition of his fellow soldiers, running and crawling through gunfire only to find Ferrara dead and Bocks badly wounded. Though he tried to stop Bocks' bleeding, the Marine later died.

Obama described the drama to an East Room audience of service members, family and White House staff:

"Across Afghanistan, base commanders were glued to the radios, listening as American forces fought back an ambush in the rugged mountains. One battalion commander remembered that all of Afghanistan was listening as a soldier on the ground described what was happening.

"They knew him by his call sign, Charlie-1-6-Romeo. We know it was Kyle, who at the time was just 20 years old and only 21 months into his military service."

Though suffering from concussions, White treated Schilling's injuries under the shadow of a lone tree and used one of the unit's radios to call for help. When a helicopter arrived after nightfall, White only allowed himself to be evacuated after the wounded were assisted.

Schilling attended White's Medal of Honor ceremony.

White retired from the Army in 2011 as a sergeant. He graduated from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte with a finance degree, and he now works as an investment analyst at a bank in Charlotte.

"Kyle will tell you that the transition to civilian life and dealing with the post-traumatic stress hasn't always been easy," Obama said. "More than six years later, he can still see the images and hear the sounds of that battle. Every day, he wakes up thinking about his battle buddies."

Later, White said he and Schilling wear identical bracelets.

"On it are the names of my six fallen brothers," he said. "They are my heroes."

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
Ono May 14 2014 at 10:18 PM

" ... I feel very bad for you that you had to endure recieving the honor from someone who doesn't deserve being the president of this great country of ours. Obama does not belong in the White House. ..."Old honkism pervades this thread. Why?

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1 reply
joe.bagofdonuts Ono May 14 2014 at 10:32 PM

What a hypocrite you are

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rgscottual May 14 2014 at 8:57 PM

Gibert did you ever put you ass on the line by saying yes , whether defending the USA or up holding your duties as a police officer or fireman. I doubt it;.

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rgscottual May 14 2014 at 8:49 PM

I salute you Sgt White, if I could I would give you hug.

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bd2thebone May 14 2014 at 8:45 PM

A medal of honor should come with a stipend at least twice the size of a Nobel prize.
Well done young man! Blessings for life.

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2 replies
mesaverdecowboy bd2thebone May 14 2014 at 8:59 PM

I agree! Instead, the government will harass him for the rest of his life by making unreasonable demands whenever he files for disability, and they will automatically deny him for years before finally conceding. They will delay and even deny him treatment at the VA for his injuries, they will give him not what medications he needs, but whatever is closest to what he needs that happens to be in their pharmacology. They will use him and others like him as guinea pigs to test medications - sometimes testing chemical agents on them that are intended for use on America's enemies (this actually happened to Marines stationed at Camp LeJeune, N.C., so don't roll your eyes...I was one of those Marines.) God bless you Sgt. White!

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1 reply
bdot157 mesaverdecowboy May 14 2014 at 9:30 PM

Which is part of the reason why no Patriotic American should vote Republican in the next election and any thereafter.

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stroker328 bd2thebone May 14 2014 at 9:13 PM

We were lucky to get a well done for what he did. My CO bled to death with an arm blown off while covering my platoon with a M 60 during the TET offensive in 68. He fired the weapon with one arm till he bled to death. His name is Lt. Terrence Roach. I had to feed the M 60 while looking at his arm on the ground. No MOH for him.

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1 reply
bd2thebone stroker328 May 14 2014 at 9:24 PM

He deserved one! But men like that are not looking for glory, they just do what they think is right.
Thank you both.
Caot. Frank

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Richard May 14 2014 at 8:38 PM

Thank you Sgt.White god bless you. You are what makes America great.
Have a great life Thank You.

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Aaron May 14 2014 at 8:26 PM

Gilbert did you read what you wrote before you submitted it. All of the people that you said are not Heroes are. They all save lives everyday. When they are not saving lives they are prepared to. In essence you are mistaken. Serving your fellow man and being willing to lay your life down to save another makes you s HERO son. Think about it and then do something about it. Try serving and stop talking.

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Odens Fist May 14 2014 at 8:18 PM

That man deserved his medal, no doubt.. A true HERO, and Warrior.
The current POTUS however doesn't deserve his job.

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2 replies
Max Mad Odens Fist May 14 2014 at 8:23 PM

I agree 100%
But watch out there are bashers in here just becouse they dont like your opinion

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1 reply
barack_obama16 Max Mad May 14 2014 at 8:35 PM

So true if people dont like what other people say then they can go live in a 3rd world country were you dont have FREEDOM OF SPEECH

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stroker328 Odens Fist May 14 2014 at 9:14 PM

Now you get a MOH for firing your weapon more than twice. In prior wars we had to die fighting to get one.

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2 replies
hokanut stroker328 May 14 2014 at 9:34 PM

OMG such BS.

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rmnlt stroker328 May 14 2014 at 9:53 PM

Go back to stroking, it seems to be what you do best.

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szs3763 May 14 2014 at 8:16 PM

There are no words to express my appreciation for you're actions, thanks-you.

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Gilbert May 14 2014 at 8:07 PM

This man is indeed a true Hero. I am tired of this word being used on anyone that wears a uniform. Police,Firemen and those in Military Uniforms are Not Heroes! A Hero is someone who risks his own life in saving someone else,that is a Hero,Not because you are wearing a Uniform.

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4 replies
mskiba2 May 14 2014 at 8:04 PM

To all you Morons that have a comment on OUR ( YES YOUR'S TOO ) President , Sit back and read the story !! It is about this brave solider and his medal , and his struggle to deal with it.
Yep everything is President Obama's fault !!!!
OH Yea Who started these wars anyway ?

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aol~~ 1209600


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