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Marine Staff Sgt. Aaron Dean White

Died May 19, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

27, of Shawnee, Okla.; assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; killed in a CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crash in the Shatt al Hillah Canal in Iraq.

If they ever had any doubt about their son’s love of flying, Darrell and Karen White just had to look at the envelopes he sent home. On them, Staff Sgt. Aaron Dean White drew pictures of planes.

“That’s the reason he volunteered. He told me ‘Mom, I want to do it.’ He didn’t have to be a pilot — he simply loved being in the air,” Karen White said.

White, 27, of Shawnee, Okla., was one of four Camp Pendleton Marines who died May 19 when their CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter went down in the Shatt al Hillah Canal shortly after takeoff. It had been on a resupply mission in support of civil-military operations.

He is survived by his wife, Michele, and 1-year-old daughter, Brianna Nicole.

“I think he had the calling to serve. He had to serve somebody, serve our country, serve the people,” his mother said. “He needed the challenge the Marine Corps would give him.”

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