Alabaster Marine remembered at service in Hawaii
By Christine Cabalo / Special to the Reporter
Strong. Silent. Sincere. Those were the words members of Headquarters Battalion used to describe Sgt. Andrew White during his memorial service at the Chaplain Joseph W. Estabrook Chapel at Marine Corps Base Hawaii held Sept. 27.
White, a 31-year-old native of Alabaster, Ala., was the non-commissioned officer in charge of the base pay deck when he died, Sept. 7, in Hawaii.
Navy Lt. Stephen Chapman, chaplain for Headquarters Battalion, led the unit in prayers and mourning the loss of the sergeant.
“Sergeant White’s life was cut a lot shorter than what we had hoped for,” he said. “We mourn his loss today for what he meant to those who loved him and cared about him. (We mourn) for what he could have continued to contribute to the Marine Corps, to America, to those who loved and cared about him so deeply and for those he would have met in the future and had a chance to impact. He did not get to have that long life.”
Several of his colleagues and Lt. Col. Robert Maldonado, the commanding officer of Headquarters Battalion, offered their remembrances of White’s short but full life.
Marines who worked with White in the finance office spoke about how he was a reserved person, whose smiles were rare but genuine.
White had a quiet nature but always made an impression, said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ioannis Vrachnos, an assistant finance officer with the battalion.
“There were few times (I saw) him shaken,” Vrachnos said. “He was a solid, stern leader. He always had a look on his face that let you know he was thinking about how to solve or do something.”
Others in White’s office admired his honesty about himself and his actions.
Sgt. Rande Moon, an internal controls clerk, recalled how he and White had many disagreements before becoming close friends. During the ceremony, Moon spoke about how he appreciated White’s bravery and courage to do everything with integrity.
“He really was on the outside how he was on the inside,” Moon said. “He didn’t hide behind a mask or anything else. He was one of the few people I can say who was sincerely himself.”