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Kyle J. White

White, serving as a radio telephone operator for his unit, was leaving a meeting with elders in an Afghan village when he and the 13 other members of his team were attacked in a canyon area known as “Ambush Alley.” White returned fire but was knocked unconscious and injured by flying rock shards. When he regained consciousness, he saw Spc. Kain Schilling hiding behind a small tree while trying to bandage his shattered arm.

Caught between a cliff face on either side, White ran through a hail of enemy fire to aid Schilling. As gunfire ripped apart the tree, White applied a tourniquet to Schilling’s arm and shielded him with his own body. Behind them, in the open, Sgt. Phillip Bocks lay wounded. “It’s just a matter of time before I’m dead,” White decided. “ If that’s going to happen, I might as well help someone while I can.”

White began to dart out and back, out and back, rounds hitting around his feet, pulling Bocks toward cover as he drew fire toward himself. Somehow, White was able to pull Bock to cover without being hit. A teammate joked later that White was moving “faster than a speeding bullet.”

Bock later died of his wounds, but Schilling was still at risk. White returned to his side, used his own belt as another tourniquet for Schilling’s knee, and found a radio. Hiding behind what Schilling later called, “the smallest tree on earth,” and realizing they were being gassed, White used the radio to call for air support and stayed with Schilling as night fell. He ordered the Afghan soldiers in the area to form a perimeter around them. Knocked down again by enemy fire, White was able to guide a MEDEVAC unit to their location. Only after Kain and his other injured teammates were on board, White finally allowed himself to be airlifted to safety.

White left active duty in May 2011. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he majored in finance. He works as an investment analyst in Charlotte.

Citation: Specialist Kyle J. White distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a radio telephone operator with Company C, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on November 9, 2007. On that day, Specialist White and his comrades were returning to Bella Outpost from a shura with Aranas Village elders. As the soldiers traversed a narrow path surrounded by mountainous, rocky terrain, they were ambushed by enemy forces from elevated positions. Pinned against a steep mountain face, Specialist White and his fellow soldiers were completely exposed to enemy fire. Specialist White returned fire and was briefly knocked unconscious when a rocket-propelled grenade impacted near him. When he regained consciousness, another round impacted near him, embedding small pieces of shrapnel in his face. Shaking off his wounds, Specialist White noticed one of his comrades lying wounded nearby. Without hesitation, Specialist White exposed himself to enemy fire in order to reach the soldier and provide medical aid. After applying a tourniquet, Specialist White moved to an injured Marine, similarly providing aid and comfort until the Marine succumbed to his wounds. Specialist White then returned to the soldier and discovered that he had been wounded again. Applying his own belt as an additional tourniquet, Specialist White was able to stem the flow of blood and save the soldier's life. Noticing that his and the other soldier's radios were inoperative, Specialist White exposed himself to enemy fire yet again in order to secure a radio from a deceased comrade. He then provided information and updates to friendly forces, allowing precision airstrikes to stifle the enemy's attack and ultimately permitting medical evacuation aircraft to rescue him, his fellow soldiers, Marines and Afghan Army soldiers. Specialist Kyle J. White's extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Company C, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade and the United States Army.