Kyle White

Via Stars and Stripes

Former Army Sgt. Kyle J. White will be awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony on Tuesday. White, 27, will receive the award for his actions during a dismounted movement in mountainous terrain in Aranas, Afghanistan. White was serving as a Platoon Radio Telephone Operator assigned to C Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, on Nov. 9, 2007, when his team of U.S. and Afghan National Army soldiers were ambushed by a much larger and more heavily armed Taliban force after a meeting with Afghan villagers. By the time the battle was over, six U.S. servicemembers had been killed and others were seriously wounded.

Before receiving the award, White sat down with Stars and Stripes to talk about the battle and life after the military.

Stars and Stripes: How did the ambush at Aranas begin?

White: As we were walking down the trail down in the valley you heard a single one shot, and two shots, and then the whole valley erupted, and then RPGs and fully automatic fire came in from it seemed like every direction … They had us outnumbered, that’s for sure … As the [enemy] fire kicked off, it kind of separated the patrol in two. And so after, you know, the initial shots, I didn’t see the [separated part] of the patrol [until the battle was over].

You were knocked unconscious by an enemy RPG, is that correct?

Yes … I fired my first magazine [and] I loaded another one, and as soon as I loaded another one it was lights out [when an RPG landed near my head] within the first probably 30 seconds of the firefight.

What was the situation when you regained consciousness?

As I picked my head up, an enemy round came in and hit that rock just inches from my face.

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