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Colonel Richard James White, Sr.
Richard James White, Sr., age 95, passed away on Tuesday, May 21, 2013. Born in Creston, Iowa, on August 16, 1916, Dick graduated from the Ruhl-Hartman High School in Kansas City, Missouri in 1936 and from the Kemper Military School, Boonville, Missouri in 1938.
A career Air Force officer, Dick began his service in the early years of WWII, receiving his commission and his pilot's wings in the Class of 1940-E at Kelly Field, Texas. During the war, he was a principal instructor for advanced bomber pilots at fields located in Arizona, Texas, California and New Mexico. Later in the war he served as Squadron Commander of a B-29 tactical squadron, flying 22 combat missions in the Far East.
Following the war, Dick was assigned to the occupation forces in Japan where he served with both the 38th and 3rd Bomb Wings and commanded the 10th Radar Calibration Squadron. He logged 520 hours in B-29's over hostile territory.
Dick was especially proud of his long service with the Strategic Air Command. Early in SAC's formation he commanded Castle AFB, which was the first "home" of the B-52 Stratofortress. He later commanded Anderson AFB, Guam, a key B-52 base used in support of troops during the Vietnam conflict. During the Vietnam conflict years he also served as Commander of McClellan AFB, one of the largest west coast air bases used in the logistical support for troops in Vietnam. His other senior career assignments included tours as Defense Attaché in both Hong Kong and Taiwan, and as Executive Officer to the USAF Chief of Staff and his Deputy where he assisted in the development and implementation of plans, programs and policies for the USAF. Prior to his retirement in 1973, he logged over 3,200 flight hours and was certified as a Command Pilot.
He holds a B.A. in Social Sciences from Sacramento State College, Sacramento, California. In addition he graduated from the USAF Ground Maintenance School; Command and General Staff School in Leavenworth, Kansas; Defense Intelligence School, Attaché Training Course and Foreign Service Institute, all in Washington, DC. He also completed graduate work in Radar training, Resource Management at the George Washington University and in Chinese History and Language and the Sanz School of Languages, both in Washington, DC, where he studied and learned to read and write Chinese (Mandarin dialect). He also completed KC-135/707 Jet Transition training.
At various times, he was a member of the Board of Governors of the USO, the Salvation Army, the Community Chest and the Boy Scouts of America. He was a recipient of the prestigious Silver Beaver Award from the Yosemite Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He was also an active member in the Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs.
His decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Airman's Medal, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Award, the Air Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Combat Readiness Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Army of Occupation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal and the United Nations Service Medal. He also holds the Chinese Air Force Pilot Wings.
Dick was a scratch golfer who loved fly fishing and tinkering around the house. He and Natalie, his wife of 73 years, traveled extensively following his retirement. He enjoyed having his family around him, including his 4 grandchildren and their spouses, Kristin and Ken, Jennifer and Jonathon, Adam and Justine, and Jim and April, and 7 great grandchildren, Abigail, Kylie Grace, Daniel, Kendall, Maya, Koby and Madeline.
He is watching over those young kids, his two sons and their wives, Dick and Barbara and Bill and Anne, and Natalie, his wife, best friend and confident. We all will miss him very much.
A visitation will be held from 12 pm to 2 pm on Wednesday, May 24th, 2013, at Porter Loring Mortuary, 1101 McCullough, San Antonio, Texas. Interment in the Arlington National Cemetery with full Military honors. In lieu of flowers, memorials or donations may be made to Brookdale Senior Living, ISC Hospice, 2 Towers Park Lane, San Antonio, TX 78209.
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Published in Express-News on May 22, 2013