- Operation Enduring Freedom
- Operation Freedom’s Sentinel
- Operation Inherent Resolve
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Operation New Dawn
- Operation Odyssey Lightning
- Operation Spartan Shield
- U.S. Africa Command Operations
- U.S. Central Command operations
- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Navy Lt. Nathan D. White
Died April 2, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
30, of Mesa, Ariz.; assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 195, based in Atsugi, Japan, and deployed with Carrier Air Wing 5 aboard the carrier Kitty Hawk.; killed when his F/A-18C Hornet was lost over Iraq. The incident remains under investigation.
Aviation was Navy Lt. Nathan White’s passion. “Regardless of the destination, I feel I am trained and prepared for any mission or contingency,” he wrote in an e-mail to his family. “I have to have faith that those at the helm have fully weighed the consequences and have determined that the resulting good will far outweigh the bad.”
White, 30, was the first U.S. pilot killed in the Iraqi war when his single-seat Hornet jet was shot down over southern Iraq on April 2. The military said his jet was “probably” brought down by a U.S. Patriot missile in a “friendly fire” incident under investigation. Last month, a Patriot missile apparently downed a British jet near the Iraq-Kuwait border, killing two.
White grew up in Abilene, Texas, where he was a 1991 graduate of Cooper High. One of eight siblings, he was graduated from Utah’s Brigham Young University and spent two years as a Mormon missionary in Japan. He spoke Japanese.
White moved to Mesa, Ariz., where he lived for two years before joining the Navy. His wife, Akiko, and his three children, Courtney, Austin and Zachary, are in Japan.
White was assigned to a fighter squadron deployed aboard the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. “He wasn’t afraid of following his dream,” said his sister, Ana Mitchell. “Whatever Nathan did, he gave it 300 percent.”
“Aviation was his passion,” his family said in a statement. “He was a man who lived his dream. He died defending this country.”
— USA Today, Associated Press