REAL AMERICAN HERO RECOGNIZED
Kyle White Awarded Medal of Honor
By Harold Hutchison
Kyle J. White, who was serving as a radio/telephone operator with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, was awarded the Medal of Honor on 13 May, 2014, for heroism during a 2007 ambush.
White’s actions took place on 9 November, 2007. His unit had been taking part in a shura, or village council, alongside an Afghan National Army unit in the village of Aranas, located in Nuristan province. The meeting was delayed, and was notable for large attendance and for the number of questions. The Americans were worried – as the population of the village was suspected of colluding in an attack on Combat Outpost Ranch House that wounded 11 Americans.
After the meeting, the American and Afghan troops were hit by fire from multiple directions in an ambush, as they were leaving the village. Early in the engagement, White was able to empty a 30-round magazine from his M4A1 carbine at the insurgents. White was soon knocked out by an exploding RPG round. When he recovered, he noticed that most of the Americans and the ANA troops had made their way 150 feet down a cliff and were fighting with the insurgents.
White acted, coming to the aid of three personnel who had been hit, including his platoon leader, a Marine embedded with the ANA unit, and another soldier. White made his way to Specialist Kain Schilling, who had been badly wounded in the leg. He put a tourniquet on the wound, and realized his radio had been hit and knocked out of the fight.
White proceeded to make his way to two other Americans who had been hit, Marine sergeant Phillip A. Bocks and his platoon leader, 1st Lt. Matthew C. Ferrara. White made his way to Bocks and then made several trips to pull the severely wounded Bocks to cover behind a lone tree on the mountain. Despite White’s first aid, Bocks died. White then went to the aid of Schilling, who had again been hit, adding another tourniquet before checking on Ferrara, who had been killed.
White went back and tried to use Schilling’s radio, but had the handset shot out of his hand. He moved to where Bocks had died, and found a working radio, then began to call in artillery and air support. A short 120mm mortar round inflicted a second concussion on him. White then proceeded to gather sensitive gear after night fell. When medevac helicopters finally arrived, White refused treatment until the other casualties had been taken care of.
White left the Army in 2011, and now works as an investment analyst in North Carolina after using the G.I. Bill to finish college.