According to his LinkedIn page, Kyle White is an investment analyst at RBC Capital Markets in Charlotte, N.C. However, until July 2011, he was a sergeant in the U.S. Army. On Tuesday, the White House announced President Barack Obama will award White with the Medal of Honour for “conspicuous gallantry” for his actions during combat operations in Afghanistan on November 9, 2007 when, according to a comrade, he helped save multiple wounded soldiers while being attacked on three sides.
The military blog “From Cow Pastures To Kosovo” published an interview with Kain Schilling, another soldier who was with White on that fateful day in 2007. Schilling shared the incredible tale of why White is receiving the military’s highest honour.
According to Schilling, White, who was an Army Specialist at the time, was among a group of soldiers who were attending a meeting with “local elders of the village of Aranus in Nuristan Province of eastern Afghanistan.” At the meeting, Schilling said the soldiers were about 4 kilometers through mountainous terrain away from the nearest American outpost. The meeting ran late and when they began to leave, Schilling said the soldiers noticed there was an unusually high number of “fighting age males” in the village.
After the meeting, Schilling said he, White, and three other soldiers began making their way back to the American outpost.
“We were about half way back to Outpost Bella when all hell broke loose,” Schilling recounted. “I remember hearing a couple of cracks and instantly knowing what was happening but I couldn’t tell where it was coming from. The enemy launched a 3 pronged attack. From my knowledge they attacked from above, in front and across the valley.”
Schilling said the American soldiers were on a narrow trail with steep cliffs on both sides. Along with gunfire, Schilling said the group was hit with blasts from rocket-propelled grenade launchers. According to Schilling, one of these blasts left White knocked out and with shrapnel in his face.
“After regaining consciousness we both made it behind cover and tried to orient ourselves and find out where all the incoming fire is coming from,” said Schilling.
Once they found cover, Schilling said he and White realised both of their radios had been shot. This meant they had no way of communicating with the outpost and were breathing smoke from their radio batteries that left a “burning sensation” in their lungs.
Schilling said he realised his arm was wounded and he sought protection behind “the smallest tree on earth.” Though the bullets were still flying, Schilling said White “ran through some of the most intense fire I had seen to come and help me.”
“He reached my position and applied a tourniquet to my arm,” said Schilling. “White applied first aid while the tiny tree we were using as cover was being shredded by incoming rounds.”
Schilling said another soldier in their group, Sergeant Bocks, was also wounded. Bocks was about “10 meters” away from the tree, but Schilling said White still tried to reach him.
“As SPC White was still trying to get SGT Bocks, the rounds were impacting around his feet. I could see the impacts when those rounds would hit the shiny shale rock. Each impact would make terrifying sparks to say the least,” Schilling recounted.
White was unable to save Bocks. However, Schilling said White was able to get a working radio from him. According to Schilling, White continued to tend to the wounded while calling in reinforcements and medical help on the radio.
“Kyle saved my life and many others as well as putting himself in harms way for myself and Bocks multiple times,” said Schilling. “Six Americans were Killed in Action that day. Out of all of the Americans alive I think all but one was wounded.”
Read Schilling’s entire story here.
White could not immediately be reached for comment on this story. On LinkedIn, White has received three endorsements for “Afghanistan” and two for “team leadership.”
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