Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Medal of Honor recipient is UNC Charlotte graduate

By Phillip Brown
Edited by John Bland

On June 20, the University of North Carolina Board of Governors recognized Kyle White (’13) on his being awarded the Medal of Honor.

During the BOG’s regular monthly meeting, White was presented a special commendation from the board. UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip L. Dubois gave White a 49ers football signed by head coach Brad Lambert.

Kyle White accepts a 49ers football from Chancellor Dubois
According to White, his goal as a Medal of Honor recipient is to work with returning service members to inform them of their educational opportunities through the GI bill.

“I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to work on this… Maybe I can go to bases and start talking to people about their benefits,” said White, who completed a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Currently, he is an investment analyst with RBC (Royal Canadian Bank) in Charlotte.

White  was awarded the Medal of Honor during a White House ceremony on May 13, becoming the seventh living recipient to be awarded the medal for service in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Kyle White (center) accepts a resolution from the
 UNC Board of Governors. He is pictured with Chancellor Dubois
(far left), UNC Pres. Tom Ross (far right) and other UNC officials.
White, of Bonney Lake, Wash., earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University in fall 2013; he entered UNC Charlotte in fall 2011 after separating from the U.S. Army. Currently, he works as a financial analyst with RBC (Royal Canadian Bank) in Charlotte.

According to the Seattle Times, in 2007 White was as serving as a radiotelephone operator when his team of 14 U.S. soldiers, along with Afghan National Army soldiers, was ambushed at a meeting with village elders in Aranas, Afghanistan.

 During the attack, White was knocked unconscious by a rocket-propelled grenade that landed near him, according to the Stars and Stripes. “When he woke up, 10 of the 14-man American element and the ANA soldiers were gone. To avoid the enemy fire, they had been forced to slide 150 feet down the side of a rocky cliff.

“White noticed that his teammate, Spc. Kain Schilling, had been shot in the arm. After White and Schilling found cover under a tree, White put a tourniquet on Schilling and stopped the bleeding. Then White saw Marine Sgt. Phillip Bocks lying out in the open, badly wounded.

“White sprinted 30 feet across open ground under a hail of bullets to reach Bocks. White made four runs out in to the open to drag Bocks out of the line of fire. He succeeded, but Bocks eventually succumbed to his wounds. Soon afterward, Schilling got hit in the leg by small-arms fire. White again saved his life, using his belt as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.

“Then White noticed his platoon leader, 1st Lt. Matthew C. Ferrara, lying face-down on the trail, motionless. White again exposed himself to fire and crawled to Ferrara's position. After he realized Ferrara was already dead, White returned to Schilling’s side and began using his radio, until an enemy round blew the hand-mic out of his hand and disabled the radio. White grabbed Bocks’ radio and used it to bring in mortars, artillery, air strikes and helicopter gun runs to keep the enemy at bay. Friendly fire gave him his second concussion of the day when a mortar round landed too close and knocked him off his feet.

“After nightfall, White marked the landing zone and assisted the flight medic in hoisting the wounded Americans and Afghans into the helicopter. White would not allow himself to be evacuated until everyone else was in a position to leave.”

The Seattle Times printed a 2008 statement from White’s battalion commander Lt. Col. William Ostlund that stated “During a long dark night, Spc. White’s uncommon valor and perseverance saved lives… Extraordinary and consistently selfless actions by a young paratrooper.”

White has been a guest on the UNC Charlotte campus and a television and video segment produced during his visit will appear on an upcoming edition of UNC TV's "North Carolina Now" show.

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