An American hero is set to be the recipient of a Medal of Honor, which will make him only the seventh living recipient of the Medal of Honor from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The White House announced on Monday that they will hold a ceremony on May 13, where he will be awarded the medal, 6 years after his heroic acts while in the field of battle. Kyle White was mixed as to his feelings receiving the award, saying the medal is certainly an honor, but is sorrowful about the circumstances which he is awarded it.
The voice from a distant mountain ambush in Afghanistan left U.S. commanders glued to their radios in 2007. A 20-year-old paratrooper, dead and dying Americans all around him, was telling the world what was happening and calling for help.
Kyle White, who the White House announced Tuesday will receive the Medal of Honor in a ceremony May 13, was a key lifeline for those in his patrol still alive, scattered along a cliffside trail snaking along a river near the border with Pakistan.
White will be only the seventh living recipient of the Medal of Honor from either the Iraq or Afghanistan Wars. His will be the 14th awarded from the conflicts to those living or dead.
Six Americans were killed in the ambush Nov. 9, 2007, along with three Afghan National Army soldiers. All of the other eight U.S. soldiers were wounded.
“I was 100% certain I was going to die that day,” says White, who suffered a mild concussion from two nearby explosions.
More than six years passed before the decision to give him the vaunted award — a long period even by the measured pace the Pentagon normally takes.
White says he always knew that receiving a Medal of Honor could change his life. The thought of it brought mixed feelings — humbled by the recognition but sorrowful over the terrible cost it represents.
The only child of a couple employed by the Boeing aircraft manufacturer, Kyle White grew up in Bonney Lake, Wash., in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains and enlisted in the Army shortly after graduating from high school.
He left the Army in 2011, and last year, he obtained a bachelor of science degree with a major in finance from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Now 27, he was hired in January by the Royal Bank of Canada in Charlotte as an investment analyst.
The battle for which White is being honored was a textbook ambush by an enemy that vastly outnumbered the Americans and their Afghan comrades. Between firing his rifle, scrambling to retrieve wounded comrades and having his thoughts scrambled by two close explosions, White told commanders what was happening, according to an Army account.