“White exhibited extraordinary disregard for his own safety by exposing himself numerous times to effective and accurate fire, providing aid to two coalition soldiers, despite being wounded himself…” — Official Narrative of the events on November 9, 2007
According to the Army News Service, former Army Sgt. Kyle Jerome White, was awarded the Medal of Honor in a ceremony at the White House on May 13, 2014. White is a Seattle native and the seventh living recipient of the MOH due to his actions on behalf of the members of his team of 14 U.S. soldiers and a squad of Afghan National Army soldiers and at least one Marine.
The battle took place on November 8, 2007 in the village of Aranas, Afghanistan. They were going there to take part in a Shura meeting with the village elders. The troops had a bad feeling about this village, because there was some thought that the villagers had cooperated with the Taliban in an attack on Combat Outpost Ranch House, which resulted in the wounding of eleven fellow soldiers and caused the closing down of that base.
Their doubts were right on the mark. After arriving in the village during the night of the 8th. During the morning of the 9th, the elders kept stalling the beginning of the meeting for various reasons, including saying that they were at prayer. Later Sgt. White remembers that the numbers of people who had arrived in the village for the Shura was unusually large. Their interpreter was hearing radio traffic in a language he did not understand. The Marine with the team, Sgt. Phillip A. Brooks advised the platoon leader, Lt. Matthew C. Ferrara that it would be a good idea to get out of the village and the area. His instincts were correct. In moments a shot was fired in the valley below the village, then another, then all hell broke loose from every direction. They were being hit with small arms fire, full-automatic, and RPGs.
This is where the story of Sgt. White’s actions that day take on the dimensions of the unbelievable, except that they happened just as the citation reads. It is a lengthy piece and includes so many details that I am including the website address for the official narrative here so that you can read it for yourself. It is attention grabbing, and it describes actions and behaviors that are truly indicative of valor beyond the call of duty. Indeed, it is so incredible, it seems beyond human capacity, but this is what Sgt. White did during the hours of that battle.
“The Marine with the team advised the platoon leader that it would be a good idea to get out of the village. His instincts were correct.”
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White is the only child of a Vietnam-era Special Forces veteran and his wife. At first White wanted to join the Marines, but he listened to his father’s advice to go into the Army and be a paratrooper. He signed up in February of 2006 as an infantryman. He went to airborne training at Fort Benning, Ga., he went to Vicenza, Italy with 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry, as a grenadier and rifleman. While with the 503rd, he was deployed to Afghanistan as a radio telephone operator. Later he spent time at Fort Benning again as an opposing forces sergeant with the Ranger Training Battalion.
After leaving the Army in 2011, White attended the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, NC on the G.I. Bill. He is currently employed by the Royal Bank of Canada in Charlotte.
Image This photo was taken on Nov. 9, 2007, only moments before Spc. Kyle White and his unit were ambushed by enemy fighters on the way from Aranas to COP Bella. The steep terrain and sparse cover made for hazardous passing in hostile territory.
Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.