KILLEEN — Medal of Honor recipient and former U.S. Army Sgt. Kyle J. White, a veteran of the Sky Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, visited Killeen on Friday to speak at the opening of a Cohen Veterans Network Clinic, partnered with Endeavors, for Fort Hood-area veterans and their families.
The mission of the clinic is to provide area veterans with accessible and affordable mental health care.
Since the establishment of the award in 1861, only 3,500 military service members have been the recipients of the Medal of Honor. The Global War on Terror has seen 14 medals awarded for service in Afghanistan while four have been awarded for service in Iraq. There are only 71 living recipients.
According to White’s Medal of Honor Citation and Department of the United States Army sources, the events transpired as follows:
White, while participating in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, was on patrol as a radio operator. Chosen Company was ambushed by the enemy in the Nuristan Province’s Battle of Aranas on the afternoon of Nov. 9, 2007, while returning from a shura — or consultation — with village elders.
As White and 14 of his fellow soldiers made their way through narrow, mountainous and rocky terrain, they were engaged from elevated positions by enemy AK-47 small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire (RPG).The area had certainly earned the reputation as “Ambush Alley.”
During the fire-fight, White was knocked unconscious by an RPG. A little later, White returned to consciousness as the fighting raged. Upon waking, another RPG landed nearby and with shrapnel embedded in his face, White ran through enemy fire to protect his comrades and saved a fellow soldiers life.
“It’s just a matter of time before I’m dead. I figured if that’s going to happen, I might as well help someone while I can,” White stated.
After calling for air, artillery and mortar fire, White would not allow himself to be evacuated until wounded soldiers were helped first.
White was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barrack Obama on May 13, 2014.
White has also been awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal with V Device, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Overseas Medal, the NATO Medal for service with ISAF, the Army Service Ribbon, the Air Assault Badge and the Parachutist Badge.
After being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, White has become an advocate for those seeking help for those who he says “fall through the cracks of the current veteran health care system.”
White, speaking at the Killeen Cohen Veterans Network Endeavors Clinic, said “I still deal with it today. When people say that people don’t need help, I don’t value their opinion.”
Since receiving his award, White has earned a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and has worked as an investment analyst for the Royal Bank of Canada and for the Bank of Merrill Lynch as a bond trader.