WESLEY W WHITE - LCPL
- DATE OF BIRTH:
- October 09, 1946
- DATE OF CASUALTY:
- April 02, 1968
- BRANCH OF SERVICE:
- South Vietnam
Wesley W. Whitewas born on October 9, 1946. His home of record is Carteret, NJ. He graduated from Columbus Elementary School in 1962 and Carteret High School in 1966. He participated in track, baseball and varsity football.
He served in the US Marine Corps and attained the rank of Lance Corporal (LCPL).
White was killed in action on April 2, 1968.
I was a childhood friend of Wesley W. White during the "50's" and "60's". We lived on the poorer side of Carteret, New Jersey; graduated from the late Columbus Elementary School 1962 and Carteret High School in 1966. The one great thing we had in common was a love of sports. Wesley was not only better than I, but he was an exceptional athlete in every sport he participated in. As we matured through the years in high school, I turned from sports to music, social change, and the great topical upheaval that rocked the "sixties", but Wesley stayed on a conservative course and excelled in sports.
When we graduated CHS, I went on to attend RCA Institute in New York City and Wesley enlisted in the U.S. Marines to answer our Nation's need for people to serve in the Armed Services and I lost track of him.
I graduated RCA Institute in February 1968, and in short order learned I was about to be drafted. After much soul searching, I chose to enlist into the U.S. Army and while I was waiting for my enlistment to begin in May, our community, learned that Wesley was killed in action.
I was saddened and perplexed by this news. I was never as athletic as Wesley and soon I would be in the Army: the war took one of our best and what could that mean for me, was my thought. I hid in the bushes as his body returned home and was escorted for a funeral service. I had seen many of those gray boxes when I pumped gas on the New Jersey Turnpike as the fallen were escorted on their last journey home, but this was extremely different. I kept seeing Wesley at his best in "sand-lot" football, flag football and high school football: and I still see him in my mind's eye today - right now as I write.
The strangest images are of him telling me what he wanted me to do on the next play in a huddle (numerous huddles) - "sand-lot", flag foot ball, and during the freshman football games we played. He was cool and bestowed a great feeling of confidence in us his teammates. His teammates knew that with Wesley in the game we would win (and we only lost one game in my recollection).
The turmoil of the "sixties" pasted into history; I served just shy of four years (Nixon's early out) on active duty U.S. Army Air Defense (Europe); went on to lead a fairly normal life. The years blessed me with increased understanding of life and an appreciation for the things that really matter. With each year I increase my determination to keep Wesley W. White's memory alive.
Written by Jim Halifko, Friend
Sources: Jim Halifko, high school yearbook and NJVVMF.
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