WASHINGTON: Obama presents top medal to Afghanistan veteran - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Obama presents top medal to Afghanistan veteran

Posted: Updated:
President Barack Obama awards the Medal of Honor to former Army Sgt. Kyle J. White during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 13, 2014. (AP photo) President Barack Obama awards the Medal of Honor to former Army Sgt. Kyle J. White during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 13, 2014. (AP photo)
WASHINGTON -

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."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Ice Cream That Doesn't Melt

    Ice Cream That Doesn't Melt

    Mom shocked after son leaves his ice cream sandwich in the heat for 12 hours and it does not melt.We are definitely seeing the type of weather where you want ice cream, but how would you feel about eating one that didn't melt? Well, a mom from Cincinnati gave her ice cream sandwiches from Walmart. She says one of them was left uneaten, outside in the heat, and it barely melted. Christie Watson says she was confused. She says the ice cream sandwich retained its shape and consistency for hours...
    Mom shocked after son leaves his ice cream sandwich in the heat for 12 hours and it does not melt.We are definitely seeing the type of weather where you want ice cream, but how would you feel about eating one that didn't melt? Well, a mom from Cincinnati gave her ice cream sandwiches from Walmart. She says one of them was left uneaten, outside in the heat, and it barely melted. Christie Watson says she was confused. She says the ice cream sandwich retained its shape and consistency for hours...
  • Birmingham man's penis amputated during circumcision, according to Jefferson County lawsuit

    Birmingham man's penis amputated during circumcision, according to Jefferson County lawsuit

    Thursday, July 24 2014 7:39 PM EDT2014-07-24 23:39:17 GMT
    The man says he was not warned that a circumcision procedure could lead to a penis amputation.
    The man says he was not warned that a circumcision procedure could lead to a penis amputation.
  • S.C. Congressman on Efforts to Impeach President Obama

    S.C. Congressman on Efforts to Impeach President Obama

    Friday, July 25 2014 11:43 PM EDT2014-07-26 03:43:27 GMT
    U.S. Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina talked to WSAV tonight about calls to impeach President Barack Obama.
    U.S. Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina talked to WSAV tonight about calls to impeach President Barack Obama.
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Woman impales herself on cemetery fence; says she was running from attacker

    Woman impales herself on cemetery fence; says she was running from attacker

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 2:53 PM EDT2014-07-23 18:53:18 GMT
    A woman claims she was running from an attacker and tried to jump a five foot fence when she became impaled. Firefighters had to use power saws and a grinding saw to cut her free, all while she was conscious. After 30 minutes she was transported to an area hospital for surgery to remove the spike sticking out of her thigh. It happened at Vine Cemetery in Hazleton. She said the nearest gate was locked. Witnesses backed...
    A woman claims she was running from an attacker and tried to jump a five foot fence when she became impaled. Firefighters had to use power saws and a grinding saw to cut her free, all while she was conscious. After 30 minutes she was transported to an area hospital for surgery to remove the spike sticking out of her thigh. It happened at Vine Cemetery in Hazleton. She said the nearest gate was locked. Witnesses backed...
  • 2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:00:14 GMT
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
  • Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Thursday, July 10 2014 8:01 PM EDT2014-07-11 00:01:10 GMT
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
Powered by WorldNow

1430 East Victory Drive
Savannah, GA 31404

Telephone: 912.651.0300
Fax: 912.651.0320
Email: newsemailalert@wsav.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.