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New York Marine Added to Gulf War Death Toll

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New York (NNPA)

By J. Zamgba Browne

Relatives and friends of Marine Lance Cpl. William White in East New York, Brooklyn, were still trying to cope with his accidental death last week in war-torn Iraq as the Amsterdam News went to print on Wednesday.

His favorite aunt, Melissa Fernandez, said in an interview that “of all the thousands of soldiers in the world,” she couldn’t understand why he had to die at such a young age. White was 24.

White, who was assigned to the 3rd Amphibious Assault Battalion, was killed in a one-car accident last Saturday in Iraq. He was to have been discharged next February. Funeral arrangements for him were incomplete as the paper went to print.

White’s mother, Martha Holder, kept having funny feelings as her son prepared to head for Iraq, according to family members.

“She never wanted him to go,” another aunt, Rita Russell recalled. “It appeared that his mother had this premonition about her beloved son that something terrible would happen to him. She kept telling the rest of us to keep praying.”

At one point, prior to Williams’ departure for Iraq, the Amsterdam News learned that his father, Mark White, a retired Army veteran, attempted to pull some strings to excuse his boy from going to Iraq, but later gave up the idea. Despite the grief, White’s family seemed proud that he gave his life in defense of his country.

“He was a hero in our eyes. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the other servicemen who were killed,” said the victim’s younger brother, Charles Holder.

Other relatives remembered White, who two years ago married his longtime sweetheart, Mycelle, as a devoted family man who always looked out for his younger brothers. Even as he fought in Iraq, his mother said that he kept in touch with the family whenever he could. She remembered how he sent money to help his little brother Bryan pay his cell phone bill.

White’s cousin, Ninosca Martinez, said his death hit her like a ton of bricks. “Every morning you listen to the news, and all you hear is that this one got killed, that one got killed, but never in my wildest imagination did I expect to hear about him,” she declared.

White attended Bushwick High School, where he graduated with honors in 1998. Some who knew him at Bushwick described him as a very studious boy who appeared to know what he wanted out of life.

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