Ex-Sgt Kyle White awarded US Medal of Honor

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President Barack Obama (right) applauds after awarding the Medal of Honour to former Army Sergeant Kyle White in Washington on 13 May 2014Image source, AP
Image caption,
Kyle White called the medal "a representation of the responsibility we accept as warriors"

US President Barack Obama has awarded the nation's highest military decoration to ex-Army Sgt Kyle White, the seventh living veteran of Iraq or Afghanistan to be thus decorated.

Mr White was given the Medal of Honor for bravery during a November 2007 fire fight with Taliban forces.

Mr White suffered head injuries in the attack but tended to other wounded comrades and called for help.

He has suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, urging others to seek help.

'Symbol of responsibility'

"Today we pay tribute to a soldier who embodies the courage of his generation," Mr Obama said of Mr White, calling his actions during the fight "extraordinary".

According to a narrative released by the Army, Mr White's team of 14 troops was ambushed during a meeting with village elders in Nuristan province.

Early in the battle he was knocked unconscious by the blast from a rocket-propelled grenade. As he awoke, an enemy round exploded near him, sending shrapnel into his face.

Though wounded and cut off from most of his comrades, Mr White braved enemy fire to rescue and tend to other injured Americans.

Mr White was able to recover a working radio from a fallen comrade and relayed a situation report to friendly forces, who came to their rescue with mortars, artillery and air power.

When a rescue helicopter arrived later, Mr White only evacuated after the other wounded men were tended to, though his condition was deteriorating from the effects of multiple concussions.

"At its core, [the medal] is a symbol of the responsibility all soldiers knowingly face when they depart for distant lands in defence of the nation," Mr White told reporters on Tuesday.

"It is a representation of the responsibility we accept as warriors and members of a team."

Mr White completed his deployment in Afghanistan and left the Army in 2011.

He has since received a finance degree from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and currently works as an investment analyst.