Sunday, September 02, 2007

Army Staff Sgt. Delmar White

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Delmar White, 37, of Wallins, Ky.

SSgt. White died Sept. 2, 2007 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery, Kentucky Army National Guard, Carrollton, Ky.

Louisville Courier Journal -- A Kentucky National Guardsman from Lexington was killed Sunday in Iraq when a roadside bomb exploded during a mission to escort a convoy, the military said yesterday.

Staff Sgt. Delmar White, 37, died and three other guardsmen were injured in the incident in Baghdad, said Maj. Gen. Donald C. Storm, adjutant general for Kentucky.

Storm called it "a terrible loss for the entire Kentucky National Guard family. … Words cannot describe the grief that we all feel at this time."

"He went out a hero," White's wife, Michelle, told the Lexington Herald-Leader. "He was a hero before he went to Iraq, in my book."

It was the second death of a Kentucky National Guardsman in a week. Staff Sgt. Nicholas R. Carnes, 25, of Ludlow, died Aug. 26 in Afghanistan of wounds from small-arms fire. His funeral will be held today in Northern Kentucky.

The names of the three soldiers injured alongside White were not released yesterday, but two were taken to a hospital in Germany and one had returned to duty. All three had contacted their families, said Guard spokesman Phil Miller.

Capt. Robert Mattingly, the commander of White's unit -- Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery, based in Carlisle -- said in an e-mail from Iraq that White was "an excellent NCO (non-commissioned officer), who led by example and never asked anything of his soldiers he wasn't willing to do himself."

White was "also a first class joker and loved to play cards" and was "loved by everyone in the Battery and will be terribly missed by all," he wrote.

White's wife said his support for the war never wavered.

"Whether he felt we should be there or not, he was all for what the military did," Michelle White said. "He never bad-talked the military or President Bush. He was behind it 100 percent, always."

She said, "He was a fantastic person that everybody loved."

White had been a corrections officer with Lexington Fayette Urban County Government, but left in 2005 to recruit for the National Guard. He had previously served in the Marines and was a veteran of Operation Desert Storm, Miller said. He first enlisted in the Kentucky Guard in 1998.

He deployed less than a month ago. Carnes, who died in Afghanistan, was assigned to Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery, based in Carrollton.

Lt. Col. Mike Gilkey, who was the battalion commander for both men, said he felt pain for any soldier killed in combat. "Having two of them in your command in one week, it hits hard." He said White "loved the Guard" and "believed in what we do."

In addition to his wife, White is survived by their two children; his stepmother, Hazel White; and a brother, Robbie Christopher.

Funeral arrangements were pending.

Gov. Ernie Fletcher directed that flags at all state office buildings remain at half-staff in White's honor until the day of his funeral. The flags currently are at half-staff to honor Carnes.

Army Staff Sgt. Delmar White was killed in action on 9/2/07.

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