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Medal of Honor recipient says ambush is 'hard to think about'

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CHALROTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Former Army Sergeant Kyle J. White, who lives in Charlotte, will be awarded the medal by President Barack Obama in a special ceremony at the White House on May 13.

Sgt. White put his own life at risk in an hours-long effort to save fellow service members during an ambush in November 2007.

He will be the seventh living recipient of the nation's highest military honor for actions in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Sgt. White spoke to media for first time on Wednesday at National Guard Armory near the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport

"It's hard to think about, but I do," Sgt. White told WBTV.

White and his team of 14 U.S. soldiers, along with Afghan National Army soldiers, were ambushed during a meeting with village elders in Aranas, Afghanistan, according to an Army account of the attack. White says the memories sometimes come back very strong.

"It's still a very personal thing. I can close my eyes at any moment and replay them in my head," he said.

The Army said the U.S. soldiers had been wary of heading to the village because local residents were suspected of collusion that resulted in a major attack on an American outpost months earlier.

White told the Army that the turnout for the village meeting was unusually large, as were the number of questions being asked. In the midst of the meeting, the group's interpreter started receiving radio traffic in a language he didn't understand and the platoon leader was advised to leave the area.

White said about an half of an hour after they left, gunshots ran out.

WEB EXTRA: Click here to read the full recap of the ambush

Sgt. White told WBTV that he was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after the ambush. He says its important for other soldiers to seek help right away.

He says he's honored to received the Medal of Honor and to meet the president next month.

Sgt. White says he's been in touch with former recipient, Staff Sergeant Salvatore Guinta.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory was at the event on Wednesday to hear Sgt. White speak.

"Sgt. White is a true American hero and we are forever indebted for his service to our nation," said Governor Pat McCrory.

"It was an honor to meet Kyle today in Charlotte and I look forward to building a lasting relationship with them as we continue North Carolina's tradition of supporting our military and the men and women who serve in our armed forces."

White retired from the Army in 2011. He now works as an investment analyst at a bank in Charlotte, N.C.

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