News / USA

Obama: Afghan War Vet Embodies 9-11 Generation

Obama: Afghan War Vet Embodies 9-11 Generationi
X
Jeff Seldin
May 14, 2014 1:28 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday awarded the Medal of Honor to former Army Sergeant Kyle White for his actions during an ambush in Nuristan province, Afghanistan. But as VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports, his friends say the honor is well deserved, although White refuses to see himself as a hero.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday awarded the nation's highest military honor to former Army Sergeant Kyle White for his actions during an ambush in Nuristan province, Afghanistan.

"You make us proud and you motivate all of us to be the best we can be as Americans, as a nation," said Obama during the White House ceremony, during which he praised White and his fellow soldiers for embodying the courage of their generation.

"Without the team, there can be no medal of honor," said White, who has said he refuses to see himself as a hero. "That is why I wear this medal for my team."

Described by those he served with as humble, Former Army Specialist Kain Schilling, badly wounded in the arm and leg, says if not for White, he would not be alive.

“He thinks it’s what anyone would do, but he went far beyond what most people would,” Schilling said.

The battle that made White a hero took place in Afghanistan's eastern Nuristan Province, near the village of Aranas.

On November 9, 2007, White was one of 14 Americans from Chosen Company navigating the rocky terrain. They were returning from a meeting with village elders when they came under attack.

Almost immediately, White and Schilling, along with Marine Sergeant Phillip Bocks, platoon leader 1st Lieutenant Matthew Ferrara and their interpreter were cut off from the rest of the group.

White went into action, returning fire, treating Schilling's gunshot wounds and despite having a concussion, trying to save the other two.

“I saw Kyle running back and forth and seeing the bullets hit the rocky shale stuff and the sparks that would pop up all-around him," said Schilling. "His uniform, his radio, his weapon, they all got hit."

He found a working radio, relaying critical information until help could arrive hours later.

These days, White wears a bracelet with the names of his fallen compatriots and tells people he only did what they would have done given the chance.

“There was no decision-making process. It was just my battle buddy out there and he needed help,” he said.

In all, six Americans died that day, a toll the Army says would have been worse if not for White's actions.

White, now 27 and an investment analyst in Charlotte, North Carolina, has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress and has sought counseling for memories he cannot shake.

“Each time I close my eyes I can see those images, I see their faces as well,” he said.

Each day he just tries to make his fallen friends proud, grateful he got a second chance.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Hamidi from: Kabul Afghanistan
May 15, 2014 4:43 AM
Brilliant President Obama.
It is really the respect for your Responsibilities, even Kyle white was for war in Afghanistan and maybe I get a lot of angry and serious replies from some strict and extremist politicians but it is fit for every King, president and supervisors to motivate their staff and soldiers like Mr. Obama did.
Hamidi

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More