By SGT. KANDI HUGGINS
3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
Values are defined as a person’s principles or standards of behavior. From a private to a general serving in the U.S. Army, the Army Values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage are referenced and practiced.
Every leader seeks to provide a good example of these core values and expects their subordinates to internalize and exhibit these core values, said Col. Bill Ostlund, commander, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, when asked about attributes of former Sgt. Kyle White.
White was a radio telephone operator assigned to Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, when Ostlund was the battalion’s commander and Command Sgt. Major Bradley Meyers was the battalion’s command sergeant major of 3rd IBCT.
It was announced April 15 that White would receive the Medal of Honor May 13 for his actions during his deployment to Afghanistan in 2007. White will be the seventh living service member to receive the MoH and the second Soldier from the Rock battalion to receive the nation’s highest award for valor.
“Kyle was in an ambush west of Aranas, Nuristan and north of Combat Outpost Bella,” said Ostlund. “Although 14 U.S. service members were killed or wounded, to include the platoon leader, Kyle (took) control of the fight and medical evacuation for several hours before being evacuated. He saved numerous lives and prevented the enemy from capturing any Americans or equipment.”
It’s also important to note, said Ostlund, the paratroopers, air crews—attack and bombers surged to support White and were phenomenal reminders that no one fights or dies alone.
White was subsequently evacuated but returned after a few days and completed the 15-month tour.
After he left the unit, Ostlund said he has stayed in continuous contact with White through talk and frequent emails. He stated he is proud of his individual actions but also immensely proud of his humility and service since.
“ This recognition will only provide a means for Kyle to continue to serve others,” said Ostlund. “The award recognizes Kyle but also the men that fought—and the six that died—with Kyle. The award adds to the legacy of a phenomenal company and battalion.”
The Chosen Company received a Presidential Unit Citation, Valorous Unit Award, a Medal of Honor awardee, two Distinguished Service Cross awardees and 16 Silver Star awardees. They also had 66 Purple Hearts from half the company being killed or wounded during their 15-month tour.
“They are one of the most decorated companies in the global war (on terrorism) and they have a final award pending,” said Ostlund. “Kyle was in a good company as was Staff Sgt. Salvadore Giunta, who was also a part of the Rock and was the first living MoH awardee since Vietnam.
“On that day and many others, we were very fortunate to have, then, Capt. Matt Myer commanding such valiant men,” said Ostlund.
Myer currently serves as the operations of officer of 6-4 Cavalry in 3rd IBCT and is one of the 16 Silver Star awardees.