Lucas T. White
Sergeant, United States Army
RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 1146-06 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 09, 2006
Media Contact: (703) 697-5131/697-5132
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Sergeant Lucas T. White, 28, of Moses Lake, Washington, died November 6, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries suffered when his unit came in contact with enemy forces while on patrol. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Washington.
For further information related to this release
the media can contact the Fort Lewis public affairs office at (253) 967-0154
or (253) 967-0147.
POLSON, Montana - Sergeant. Lucas T. White, whose mother and stepfather live in this small Montana city, was killed in action in Iraq, his mother said Wednesday.
White lived in Pendleton until he was 12 or 13, said his mother, Julie Brooks. The family then moved to White Swan, Washington, where White finished high school in 1998.
A member of the Montana National Guard visited Brooks and White's stepfather, Lyle Brooks, on Monday to inform them of their son's death.
White, 28, was leading a striker patrol in Baghdad when his unit was ambushed by small arms fire and an improvised explosive device, Brooks said.
The incident is under investigation by the U.S. Army.
White, a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon, enlisted in the Army in 2001 and served in Afghanistan. He re-enlisted and had been in Iraq for five months.
“He really enjoyed what he was doing,” Brooks said. “We're so proud of him.”
She said a service was held in Iraq. White's body will be returned to White Swan today for a traditional American Indian ceremony.
At White's request, the family has arranged for his interment at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
In addition to his mother and stepfather, White
is survived by his father, Mervin White of Spokane; brothers Marcus Ramos,
Nathaniel and Seth Brooks and sister Melissa, all of Polson; his grandparents
and several aunts and uncles.
An Army Sergeant and Umatilla tribal member from White Swan was killed Monday in Iraq, according to his family.
Sergeant Lucas T White, 28, died of wounds he suffered when his unit was ambushed during a routine patrol in Baghdad, his mother, Julia James Brooks, said Wednesday.
White, the first American Indian from the Yakima Valley killed in the conflict, was riding in an armored vehicle that was struck by small-arms fire and an explosive device, Brooks said military officials told her.
She said she was notified of the tragedy about midnight Monday.
The Yakama Warriors Association, a group of veterans on the Yakama reservation, said they were notified of the death Tuesday morning by military officials, who had difficulty locating next of kin.
Jake Mann, a Warrior official, said the association was asked to contact the family.
It wasn't clear whether White, who previously served in Afghanistan, was the only American killed in Monday's incident, which is still under investigation, Brooks said.
Born in Pendleton, Ore., White moved to White Swan at age 12, where he lived until joining the Army in 2001. He graduated from White Swan High School in 1996, and always wanted to serve in the armed forces, his mother said.
Salmon fishing, hunting and snowboarding were his favorite pastimes, she said.
"He loved being in the military," she said. "He was really a very strong and independent person. Whatever he said he was going to do, he'd do it."
He left for Iraq about five months ago and was scheduled to come home on leave in December, said Brooks, who now lives in Polson, Montana.
White was stationed at Fort Liberty, Baghdad, at the time of his death.
White leaves behind his wife, Jennifer White of Moses Lake, five brothers and a sister. He has family in Spokane, Pendleton and Polson. His heroism is greatly noted as he will be missed by all who knew him, his mother said.
"His entire family is so proud of him," she said in a grieving voice. "We just love him and we're so proud of him. It's always been that way."
A memorial will be held Nov. 16 at Fort Lewis, before White's body will be taken to Toppenish Creek Longhouse in White Swan for services. Later, White will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
"He's requested to be buried at Arlington, next to all of his brothers who died in combat," Brooks said.
White was the eighth service member with Yakima
Valley ties to die in Iraq.
1 March 2007:
Last week, a fallen soldier’s bravery was honored before dozens of family members and community officials in a packed Tribal Council Chambers where mother and stepfather Julia and Lyle Brooks received a token of appreciation.
As part of the Montana Military Appreciation
Project, the Brooks were presented with the Challenge Coin with the words
“Thank You for Your Service to your Country” inscribed on it, in honor
of their son Sgt. Lucas White’s service to his country.
The Polson couple learned last fall that White was killed in action in Baghdad. He was a 28-year-old leader of a striker patrol when he was killed during an ambush by a small arms fire and an improvised explosive device.
His death made headlines in local publications, but this was the first event in Lake County to publicly recognize the soldier’s efforts.
Attendees were greeted by a large American flag wafting in the breeze, held aloft by a crane. Inside, the Warriors Society presented the Tribal and U.S. flags.
CSKT Chairman James Steele, Jr. noted the presence of both City of Polson and Tribal law enforcement and fire department officials. Also in attendance were a number of Sergeant White’s family members, many of whom belong to the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.
“It’s at times like these we gather, not for creed or race, but for a fallen community member,” said Steele.
The coin’s origins date back to World War I when members of a volunteer flying squadron where given bronze medallions. Emblazoned on the medallions were the squadron’s insignia which proved especially handy for one soldier who found himself in a pinch when his identity was challenged by French troops who thought he was a saboteur. As his life was being threatened, the soldier revealed the token to them — and fortunately for him — one of the French troops recognized the insignia and presented the American ally with a bottle of wine.
Thereafter, it became tradition that all members carried their coins at all times. To ensure compliance, a ritual was developed whereby a challenger requested squad members to reveal their coins and tap them on a hard surface. Those found without their coins were obligated to buy a round of drinks. However, if all squad members produced their tokens, the challenger was the one to buy the round.
Now, the coin represents the challenge met by Montana troops who have served their country, explained Missoula County Sheriffs’ Captain Willis Hintz.
When Julia was notified that she and her husband were going to be given the medallion, she was asked if she wanted to receive it in private or if she would like a ceremony in honor her son. She said that she wanted the presentation to be made public in order to remind the community of the sacrifice made by America’s troops.
“I think it is really important that the public recognize what our veterans did,” Julia explained. “My heart goes out to the other families who lost their sons and daughters.”
Julia has another son, 20-year-old Marine Lance Corporal Marcus Ramos, who could be deployed any day now.
“His brother set such a fine example for him, so it’s his duty,” she said.
Sergeant White intended to make a career out of his military service. He enlisted in the Army in 2001 and was deployed to Afghanistan just weeks after 9/11. After his tour there, he re-enlisted and served in Iraq for five months.
Sergeant White’s grandfather, Edward Five Crows James, acknowledged the soldier’s dedication to his country, saying he was a fine solider and looks forward to the day they are reunited.
“One day, when we go before the Maker, this warrior will be there,” he said.
Sergeant White left behind a wife who was in Washington D.C. visiting his grave at Arlington National Cemetery earlier this week.
Julia gave a special thanks Polson Police Chief
Doug Chase and Tribal officer Don Bell and all those who coordinated and
attended the event.
Photo Courtesy of Holly, January 2007
Photo Courtesy of Holly, November 2006