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Gerald A White

May 10th, 1926 - December 25th, 2023

A Celebration of Life service, with military honors, for Gerald A. White, 97, of Columbia, will be held at 2:00 PM, on Saturday, February 3, 2024, at Ashland United Methodist Church, 2600 Ashland Rd, Columbia, SC 29210. Reverend Scott Efird will officiate, and American Legion Post 193 will provide military honors. Gerald White passed away December 25, 2023. Born in Catlin, NY, he was a son of the late George and Laura Locke White. Gerald was born right before the Great Depression and experienced a very difficult time during his childhood in Lodi, New York, coming from a poor and dysfunctional family. Before he graduated from high school, he was drafted for service in World War II in August, 1944. Gerald completed basic training at Camp Blanding, Florida and had fifteen days of leave before reporting to Fort Dix, New Jersey. Gerald boarded the Queen Mary, with a ship load of other recruits, headed to England and endured 2 torpedo warnings. Gerald was sent to Belgium and was assigned to M Company, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Division around January 15, 1945. His job was to support M Company and the 81mm Mortar unit with ammunition. Gerald said” Sgt Cunningham showed me the jeep and told me that was my baby to take care of, as well as the trailer. Then, Sgt Cunningham handed me a field telephone and said when they call for ammo you load it and get to the front.” Gerald might have received 5 minutes of training and was then thrown into the push to clear the Ondenval-Iveldingen Pass of determined enemy resistance in the bitter cold and waist deep snow. Gerald said they moved eleven times between January 15 to January 23, 1945. Soon after, the 23d Infantry Regiment was again on the offensive in the Siegfried Line, pushing through the Schleiden Forest to reach the vitally important Roer River dams. During this time, Gerald suffered 2nd degree burns on his face while making a fire with gasoline to burn used kitchen materials. He was admitted to the field hospital on February 12, 1945, and released back to duty on February 23, 1945. While in the hospital, he was declared MIA, and the Army informed his parents. Early in March, the Regiment drove to the Rhine. The crossing was made on the 23d of March in the vicinity of Niederbreisig, five miles south of the famed Remagen bridge. The 23d made a spectacular 365-mile drive in 23 days to the vicinity of industrialized Merseburg, Germany, just west of Leipzig. In the face of direct fire from over 200 guns of 88- and 128-mm caliber, the 23rd cleared one of Germany's most concentrated flak areas. Sweeping on, they entered Leipzig. The assault on Leipzig was with four bridge-crossings being made simultaneously. In a few hours, the city had fallen. The next advance was halted at the Mulde River. There the Regiment awaited contact with the Russian Army. A move was made south to the Czechoslovakian border, and east into Pilsen where the population greeted the 23d with wild enthusiasm. Upon his return to the US, Gerald completed high school and used his GI bill to attend Morrisville College and received an Associate degree in Electrical power. Later, he attended the QASAS inspector school in Savannah, Illinois. He returned to Seneca Army Depot and married the love of his life, Pearl Johnson. Gerald served 37 years working in army depots all over the world to include: Seneca, Navaho, Korea (3x), Chize, Fort Devons, Fishbach, Letterkenny and Anniston (3x). Gerald retired as Chief of the Missile Branch from Anniston in May 1985 After retirement, Gerald and Pearl split time between upstate NY and Alabama for many years. While in Alabama, Gerald decided to donate several items to the WWII section of the National Soldier Center, Fort Benning, Georgia. The museum found an old letter in his uniform and used it in a display that is still there today. In 2008, they decided to move to Columbia SC to be near their daughter, Sandra. After settling in Columbia, Gerald joined Ashland United Methodist Church; he enjoying talking to people, occasionally ushering and assisting with the monthly Thursday bulletin. Gerald also joined VFW Post 8738, DAV Chapter 28, NARFE Chapter 87, Battle of the Bulge - Fort Jackson Chapter, and American Legion Post 193. He loved helping these organizations raise money, especially when he was able to talk to people as they entered or exited businesses. Gerald received many awards over the years including 2 Quilts of Honor and the “E. Roy Stone, Jr., Legionnaire of the Year 2018”. Gerald enjoyed traveling to the National Battle of Bulge meetings with the last two being in Gettysburg and New Orleans. He traveled to Normandy in 2014. Gerald recently returned to Bastogne Belgium on December 10 to a hero’s welcome. He had a wonderful time meeting all the people, especially a group that came from Czechoslovakia. The group brought a book for him to see and on the inside, he saw some names he recognized and then his name. Some of Company M had signed the book 79 years ago. He couldn’t remember signing it, but was so excited to see it. Gerald is in Heaven with his beloved wife, his family who went on to Heaven before him and all of his friends having a good time. Gerald is survived by his beloved daughter, Sandra White, brothers, Glenn White, Donald White, and Norman White (Karen); sister, Jean McWhorter, brother-in-law, Robert Johnson (Betty); and a large and loving extended family. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his loving wife of 67 years, Pearl White; sisters, Helen Lewin, and Verna White; brother, Merle White. The family would like to thank the nurses at Prisma Health Baptist at Parkridge, and Prisma Health Richland STICU nursing staff for their loving and attentive care. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Legion Post 193 Building Fund, PO Box 897, Chapin, SC 29036, or Ashland United Methodist Church.

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