President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to former Army Sgt. Kyle Jerome White for his actions on November, 8th 2007 in Aranas, Afghanistan. Sgt. White showed disregard for his own life while attempting to save two Marines and another soldier after being ambushed by a large enemy force.
White is the tenth Veteran of Afghanistan to receive the military’s highest recognition of valor.
Explaining his actions in an interview afterwards, White laid out the gravity of his platoon’s predicament as they were assaulted.
“…well, shit, we’re not gonna make it through this one; 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.”
Kyle White will receive the Medal of Honor May 13th during a ceremony at the White House. He currently works as an investment analyst in Charlotte, NC.
Here are nine other Medal of Honor recipients from Afghanistan:
Staff Sgt. Salvatore A. Giunta
The Cedar Rapids Iowa native became the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War for his actions in the Kunar province of Afghanistan. Just two weeks before White’s heroism, Guinta was also responsible for saving the lives of soldiers under the face of superior enemy fire power.
Guinta described the terrifying ambush his rifle team encountered the night of October, 25th 2007.
“There were more bullets in the air than stars in the sky. A wall of bullets at every one at the same time with one crack and then a million other cracks afterwards. They’re above you, in front of you, behind you, below you. They’re hitting in the dirt early. They’re going over your head. Just all over the place. They were close—as close as I’ve ever seen.”
During the ensuing fire fight, Guinta found his platoon completely pinned down by a team of 10-15 Taliban fighters. In the chaos, Guinta spotted a wounded American soldier being dragged away by enemy forces, pursued and killed two men, saving his buddy in the process.
Today Sal Guinta is out of the Army and a student at Colorado State University.
Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry
Leroy Petry lost a hand in Afghanistan after a grenade he was holding exploded, but that didn’t stop the Army Ranger from staying in the fight. Petry told Mens Journal in 2011 that his 1st Sgt. offered to medivac him from the battlefield after seeing the severed hand, but he refused, saying instead.
“You’re not taking me anywhere until you kill those SOBs on the back side of the building.”
Petry was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions that day in Afghanistan. He escaped with his life, holding the M-4 in his left hand, knowing why he’d spent all those hours practicing off-handed shooting at Ft. Benning, GA.
Today the father of four works as an Army liaison helping other wounded warriors get the help they need.
Marine Cpl. Dakota Meyer
Cpl. Meyer was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2011 for his actions in Ganjgal, Afghanistan on September 8th, 2009. Under heavy enemy fire Meyer located and retrieved the bodies of four dead serviceman for safe extraction. During the firefight Meyers personally evacuated 12 wounded and probably saved the life of 24 Marines in direction opposition of superior fire power.
When they called Meyer to tell him about his designation, he asked to have a beer with President Obama. His civilian life has been marked by a controversial book, a suicide attempt and lawsuit against a former employer.
Cpl. Meyer has sought help for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following his suicide attempt.
Army Capt. Will Swenson
In Meyer’s book, Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War he credits Officer Will Swenson with saving his life.
Swenson rapidly charged back in to a kill zone to rescue injured servicemen who were ambushed in the early morning hours by approximately 60 insurgents, surround them on high ground from three sides. Coalition forces took 15 losses during the fire fight.
Dramatic video of Swenson’s action emerged in later years, solidifying the award.
Swenson rejoined the Army on active duty in 2014 after a three year stint as civilian.
Navy Lt. Michael Murphy
Lt. Michael Murphy was a Navy Seal who led missions you only see in recruiting commercials. Dropped off with a 4 man reconnaissance team deep in Taliban territory, Murphy and his men came under attack by insurgents alerted to their position by passing locals.
Under attack Murphy called for reinforcements, exposing himself to extreme danger in order to coordinate an evacuation. He continued to provide covering fire for his team until mortally wounded by enemy forces.
Murphy’s remains were recovered and returned to the United States. He is buried at Calverton National Cemetery in New York.
His story is partly told in the hit movie Lone Survivor. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a great movie. Here’s the trailer:
Staff Sgt. Robert Miller
On January 25th, 2008 Staff Sgt, Robert Miller led a combat patrol in the Kunar Province near the Pakistan border when his men came under attack. Miller helped lay down suppressive fire while a wounded member of his platoon was evacuated from the AO. His bravery (and deft use of the SAW machine gun) helped save the life of 7 friendlies and 15 Afghan National Guardsmen.
Miller’s father Robert perhaps said it best, of all Medal of Honor winners:
“You start to look at all the stories of what people do, including the people in this same firefight, and then you realize how remarkable it is that they’re keeping their heads under incredible, intense, dangerous conditions, and doing the right thing. It’s amazing to imagine anybody could behave like that.”
Sgt. 1st Class Jared Monti
Jared Monti is another somber, posthumous winner of the nation’s highest honor. Monti was killed on June 21, 2006 in the Nuristan Province of Afghanistan. When another soldier was left wounded and trapped between exchanging forces, Monti volunteered to lead the rescue, telling a fellow soldier,
“That’s my guy. I am going to get him.”
Monti made three attempts to save his wounded brother. On the third attempt he was hit by a RPG and mortally wounded. The soldier he was attempting to save also died that day.
Jared Monti is buried at the Massachusetts National Cemetery.
Army Sgt. Clinton Romesha
Sgt. Romesha was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Kamdesh.
Romesha led operations which supported the recapture of an ammunition depot occupied by attacking Taliban forces. He oriented an air attack which eliminated an estimated 30 Taliban fighters, while tending to American wounded and fighting a superior force during a 12 hour fire fight.
After leaving the Army Romesha found work in North Dakota. His testimony is featured heavily in Jake Tapper’s book The Outpost.
Sgt. Ty Carter
Sgt. Ty Carter was also awarded the Medal of Honor for his response during combat at the Battle of Kamdesh. After being wounded during the first 30 minutes of the battle, Carter was still able to come to the aid of a wounded soldier, covering some 30 meters (both ways) to save his friend under fire. He later returned to rescue yet another soldier, carrying him on a liter over 100 meters while under fire
During the Battle of Kamdesh over 2/3rds of coalition forces were either killed or wounded.
The Medal of Honor winner is still an enlisted member of the U.S Army.