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Russell Patrick White
Lance Corporal, United States Marine Corps
Delaware State Flag
RP White HOMETOWN HEROES Banner: Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 83 (VVA Chap. 83)
Provided By: Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 83

NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
No. 592-04
IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 22, 2004
Media Contact: Marine Corps Public Affairs - (703) 614-4309 Public/Industry Contact: (703) 428-0711

DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Lance Corporal Russell P. White, 19, of Dagsboro, Delaware, died June 20, 2004, due to a non-combat related incident at Camp Bulldog, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

          The incident is under investigation.

For further information related to this release, contact Marine Corps Public Affairs at (910) 451-5655.


Lejeune Marine killed in accident
22 June 2004

RP White PHOTO

 DOVER, DELAWARE - A 19-year-old Marine based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, was killed in a firearm accident at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan, his family said Monday.

Lance Corporal Russell P. White, who deployed to Afghanistan about six weeks ago, was shot in the head and died late Sunday at Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, his father, Gregg White, said.

White said military officials told him another Marine was attempting to holster a 9 mm handgun, apparently after cleaning it, when it discharged a bullet that struck Russell White in the head.

Military officials had said earlier Monday only that a U.S. Marine died of a "nonhostile injury" inflicted by a weapon, and that the incident was under investigation.

The Pentagon confirmed White's death Tuesday.

Gregg White, a building contractor who lives near Ocean View, said military officials knocked on his door Monday.

"You don't have to say anything," he said. "You open the door, you see them and you see a big white vehicle behind them. There's no good news."

White said he last spoke to his son, a machine gunner with the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, based at Camp Lejeune, on Saturday.

Russell White, who joined the Marines last year after graduating from Indian River High School, was particularly proud of a mission this month when U.S. troops captured a suspected bomb maker described as a "medium-value target" without firing a shot.

Funeral arrangements are pending.


Saturday Mass set for fallen Delaware Marine
24 June 2004
By Chip Guy
The News Journal 

DAGSBORO, DELAWARE - A funeral Mass is scheduled for Saturday in Sussex County for Marine Lance Corporal Russell P. White, who was was accidentally shot and killed Sunday by another Marine in Afghanistan.

The body of the Dagsboro man was flown to Dover Air Force Base late Tuesday, and an autopsy was performed Wednesday, according to his family.

A public viewing will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at Melson's Funeral Home, West Avenue in Ocean View. A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Ann's Catholic Church on Route 26 in Ocean View.

The viewing and Mass, as well as a post-service luncheon at the Bethany Beach Fire Company on Hollywood Street, will be open to the public.

White, 19, was killed Sunday at Camp Bulldog, Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, when another Marine's 9 mm pistol fired as the soldier cleaned the weapon. The two Marines were on watch duty at the time.

White was struck in the head by a single shot, and later died at a base hospital.

White's family has been fielding many telephone calls, including condolences from Governor Ruth Ann Minner and White's former classmates at Indian River High School, said his father, Gregg.

Interment will be July 7 in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. A bus will be provided that day to take mourners from St. Ann's Catholic Church to Virginia. Anyone wishing to take the bus can call 302-541-8565 after Friday for more information.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to one of two funds:

The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society fund, 4015 Wilson Boulevard, 10th Floor, Arlington, Virginia, 22203. Make checks payable to NMCRS.

The Russell P. White Indian River Football Fund, c/o Baltimore Trust, Bethany Beach branch, PO Box 360, Bethany Beach, Delaware, 19930.



Slain Marine remembered: Mourners pay tribute
By Darrell Neale, 25 June 2004

OCEAN VIEW, DELAWARE - Friends and relatives came by the score Friday to pay their last respects to Marine Lance Corporal Russell P. White of Dagsboro.

Lance Corporal White, 19, died Sunday at Camp Bulldog in Afghanistan, the victim of an accidental shooting. He was shot when another Marine's pistol discharged as he cleaned the weapon.

A steady stream of visitors came to Melson Funeral Home Friday afternoon and evening and signed three pieces of sheet rock. Lance Corporal White's father, Gregg, is a contractor in the area.

"Russell and his father built their home," said Paul Carsello, a Melson funeral director.

"Gregg plans on putting the sheet rock up in his home."

Some just signed their names while others wrote long messages.

One of the names on the board was Gerry Garyantes Clark of Milton, whose son, Army Staff Sergeant Joseph Garyantes, was killed in Iraq in late May.

Brian Page, Lance Corporal White's uncle, said his nephew was incredibly outgoing and well loved.

"There was nothing he couldn't do," Mr. Page said. "He loved all the outdoor sports and was a wicked hunter."

Lance Corporal. White, a former Indian River High School football player, frequently visited his uncle in Vermont where he learned to shoot.

"He was third in his class and received a medal," Mr. Page said. "I taught him the basics but the Marines taught him the rest."

While in Vermont, Lance Corporal White loved to go four-wheeling or skiing.

"He just loved to be outside," Mr. Page said.

Lance Corporal White had a real love for the Marines, his uncle said.

"I would call him soldier and he would say, 'I'm a Marine, not a soldier,' " he said. "He was Corps to the core."

Thomas Baker of Selbyville and six friends went to Parris Island, South Carolina, to pick up White after he graduated from boot camp last year.

"He said boot camp made a man out of him," Mr. Baker said.

One of Mr. Baker's friends came out of the chapel with tears in his eyes, visibly moved by the experience.

"It is a beautiful tribute," Mr. Carsello said. "I think they have closure."

A funeral Mass is scheduled for 11 a.m. today at St. Ann's Catholic Church on Delaware 26 in Ocean View. 

Governor Ruth Ann Minner is expected to attend the Mass.

Interment will be July 7, 2004, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

Mr. Carsello said two buses will take mourners from Ocean View to Virginia for the burial. Those wishing to take the bus can call 541-8565 for more information.

Two funds have been set up for donations: The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society Fund, 4015 Wilson Blvd., 10th Floor, Arlington, Virginia 22203. Make checks payable to NMCRS; or the Russell P. White Indian River Football Fund, c/o Baltimore Trust, Bethany Beach branch, P.O. Box 360, Bethany Beach, Delaware, 19930.



26 June 2004:

More than 200 people gathered to remember U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Russell White at a memorial service in Bethany. The 19 year old Marnie from Dagsboro, was accidentaly killed in Afghanistan on Sunday.

The emotional memorial mass was held at St. Ann's Catholic Church in Bethany. As Father David Kelley recalled, Russell was one of a kind. "Russell was a unique and an extraordinary young man filled with life and vitality." said Kelley. Clearly everyone agreed as they took comfort in each others arms, and the smiles of fellow friends.

Before White's flag draped coffin left the church, Father Kelley spoke of the young Marines committment to service."Russell was proud to serve his country as a Marine," said Kelley, "He believed that his presence in Afghanistan could make the world a safer place for other such as us who are gathered here today."

Among those who came to honor the beloved Marine, was his high school football coach Jim Bunting. Bunting spoke of White's optimism on and off the field during two Indian River High School football games. "Russell dominated on defence, said Bunting, "He single handedly caused fumbles, he made the quarterback hurdle on every pass, and redirected their running game on almost every play. We lost both of those games by one point, but I do remember Russell saying "We didn't lose tonight, we just ran out of time."

Friends and family clutched each other a little closer as White's fellow Marines carried his casket outside to the back of the church. There, White's two brothers had a brief moment to say a few silent words to their youngest brother.

On Wednesday July 7, 2004 a funeral service will be held at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

RP White Home Memorial PHOTO


Family, friends remember fallen Marine
Hundreds gather at Bethany Beach to pay their last respects 
By PATRICK JACKSON
27 June 2004

It's a simple military funeral rite.

But when the Marine honor guard escorting Lance Corporal Russell P. White's casket replaced the shroud draping the casket with an American flag, the procession leaving the church during Saturday's funeral Mass stopped cold. Some mourners who had been biting their lips and holding back their emotions wept at the sight.

Hundreds of people filled St. Ann's Catholic Church in Bethany Beach to say goodbye to White, who was accidentally shot by a fellow Marine last Sunday in Afghanistan.

White had been assigned to Camp Bulldog, Bagram Air Base, north of the Afghan capital of Kabul as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, which aims to support the new Afghan government and help root out Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al-Qaida terrorist network, and his followers.

Gregg White, Russell's father, said the support his family has been given has helped carry them through since they received word of their son's death on Monday.

"We are truly overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support," Gregg White said. "Sometimes it's still hard when the two of us are alone at home, but this has been incredible and has been a tremendous help."

U.S. Senators Joe Biden and Tom Carper and Gov. Ruth Ann Minner were among the mourners. Following the service, Biden huddled with the White family at the Bethany Beach firehouse near a photo collage of Russell White's life before a memorial luncheon.

"People talk about Gen X or Gen Y not having what it takes, but they're smarter and as dedicated as any generation," Biden said. "People like Russell show how great they can be."

During the service, the Rev. David Kelley praised White as a "unique and extraordinary young man" who "touched the lives of others around him in many and varied ways."

White's brother, Adam, read Scripture to the congregation, as did Jo Richardson.

"I'm a good friend of his mother, Tricia, who asked because a lot of the family was too emotional to be able to go up and speak," Richardson said. "I was very honored to be able to take part."

Jimmy Bunting, White's football coach at Indian River High School, remembered White to the church as a senior walk-on whose determination earned him a starting job as nose guard. He said the same spirit that helped White earn his way into the starting lineup made it natural that he would become a Marine.

"He was a doer, not a dreamer, who didn't settle for being anything less than the best," said Bunting, who added that the last time he saw White was before he shipped out to Afghanistan. The young Marine said he was ready for his mission. "He said, 'I'm going to go get bin Laden.' I think he would have, too."

White will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery on July 7, 2004. While that will hold meaning for the family, Gregg White said Saturday's service was special because it was the community's farewell.

"The love we're feeling is indescribable," he said. "But this is for him and we are grateful."

RP White Services PHOTO
Gregg White follows a Marine honor guard escorting the casket of his 
son, Lance Corporal Russell P. White, after a memorial service Saturday 
at St. Ann's Catholic Church in Bethany Beach


Family, friends remember fallen Marine
By Patrick Jackson
Courtesy of the Gannett News Service

It's a simple military funeral rite.

But when the Marine honor guard escorting Lance Corporal Russell P. White's casket replaced the shroud draping the casket with an American flag, the procession leaving the church during Saturday's funeral Mass stopped cold. Some mourners who had been biting their lips and holding back their emotions wept at the sight.

Hundreds of people filled St. Ann's Catholic Church in Bethany Beach to say goodbye to White, who was accidentally shot by a fellow Marine Sunday, June 20 in Afghanistan.

White had been assigned to Camp Bulldog, Baghram Air Base, north of the Afghan capital of Kabul as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, which aims to support the new Afghan government and help root out Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al Qaeda terrorist network, and his followers.

Gregg White, Russell's father, said the support his family has been given has helped carry them through since they received word of their son's death on Monday.

"We are truly overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support," Gregg White said. "Sometimes it's still hard when the two of us are alone at home, but this has been incredible and has been a tremendous help."

U.S. Senators Joe Biden and Tom Carper and Gov. Ruth Ann Minner were among the mourners.

"People talk about Gen X or Gen Y not having what it takes, but they're smarter and as dedicated as any generation," Biden said. "People like Russell show how great they can be."

During the service, the Rev. David Kelley praised White as a "unique and extraordinary young man" who "touched the lives of others around him in many and varied ways."

White's brother, Adam, read Scripture to the congregation, as did Jo Richardson.

"I'm a good friend of his mother, Tricia, who asked because a lot of the family was too emotional to be able to go up and speak," Richardson said. "I was very honored to be able to take part."

Jimmy Bunting, White's football coach at Indian River High School, remembered White as a senior walk-on whose determination earned him a starting job as nose guard. He said the same spirit that helped White earn his way into the starting lineup made it natural that he would become a Marine.

"He was a doer, not a dreamer, who didn't settle for being anything less than the best," said Bunting, who added that the last time he saw White was before he shipped out to Afghanistan. The young Marine said he was ready for his mission. "He said, 'I'm going to go get bin Laden.' I think he would have, too."

White will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday, July 7. While that will hold meaning for the family, Gregg White said Saturday's service was special because it was the community's farewell.

"The love we're feeling is indescribable," he said. "But this is for him and we are grateful."

To allow members of the community to participate in Russell White's final journey, his family has arranged free travel to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, according to Gregg White. He said they have ordered a second motor coach to take anyone wanting to attend the graveside services.

The motor coaches will leave the Millville Volunteer Fire Co. parking lot at 6:45 a.m. with an estimated return time of 3 p.m. Lunch will be provided.



Family has someone to hold accountable for robbing them of a loved one's gifts
June 11,2005 
ROSELEE PAPANDREA
COURTESY OF THE DAILY NEWS

For almost a year, Marine Lance Corporal Russell White's family members searched for answers.

They knew Russell, who was a machine gunner in 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, died from a gunshot wound to the head on June 20, 2004 in Afghanistan. They knew a fellow Marine caused his death in what was initially labeled a "firearms accident.

But there were many questions surrounding the 19-year-old Marine's death. There was still so much the family needed before there could be closure.

There was the viewing, a memorial service and burial at Arlington National Cemetery. The number Russell wore as a 140-pound noseguard on his high school football team in Dagsboro, Del. was retired. A granite statue in his honor was placed at the entrance of his old school's new football stadium.

Expressions of sympathy - "in loving memory of Russell White" - popped up on business marquees throughout Dagsboro. Only hours after hearing of their friend's death, Russell's buddies had a tattoo designed so they'd never forget him - a sentiment that's now in permanent ink on more than 20 left arms.

As grief and depression seeped into the White home, the initial information they received on June 21, 2004 that Russell died in an accident started to unravel.

Russell's father, Gregg White, hounded Camp Lejeune officials for information. He received copies of the autopsy and other reports.

"It didn't add up," said Russell's oldest brother, Adam White, 26, of Sunapee, New Hampshire. "The family began to speculate it was more than a freak accident."

Every bit of information led to more questions.

After a 12-hour shift on guard duty, Russell returned to his hut at Camp Bulldog at Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, with a care package from home waiting for him. He was on his cot tossing a new Nerf football and talking with his buddies in the moments before he died.

Lance Corporal. Frederico Pimienta and Lance Corporal Stephen Groover were cleaning their weapons. Pimienta shouldn't have had a bullet in the chamber of his 9 mm Beretta. He shouldn't have had the safety off. He shouldn't have pulled the trigger.

After learning that Pimienta had been counseled numerous times about playing with a loaded 9 mm - twirling it on his finger or pulling it out of the holster cowboy style - the Whites wondered how he still had a weapon or why no official action was taken sooner.

"We did not know what to believe," Adam said.

They also didn't know if there would ever be enough information to satisfy the ache in their hearts.

"We didn't know whether we'd ever find out something close to the truth," said Russell's brother, Navy Ensign Dennis White, 25, of Rockville, Maryland. "We spent so much time not knowing the full story. We wondered whether we ever would and whether Pimienta would be held accountable."

This week the White family learned the details about what happened to Russell. They came in the form of witness testimony at a court-martial for Pimienta who was convicted at court-martial of involuntary manslaughter and giving a false official statement in connection to the killing.

"We feel that Major (Stephen) Keane and Captain (Gregory) Johnson effectively extracted truths and facts that ultimately provided what the family had begun to suspect months before," Adam said of the military trial counsel that prosecuted the case.

Finally, there was someone to hold accountable for robbing the Whites of Russell's laughter, jokes and stories - all gifts they now hold tight in their memories.

The eight-member jury - made up of four officers and four enlisted Marines - gave Russell's parents, brothers and the more than 20 extended family members and friends who attended the court-martial at Camp Lejeune the justice they were seeking.

"Now we can think more about Russell," Dennis said. "We don't have to worry about what happened. We can think more about his life, instead of how he died."

Pimienta received a 12-year sentence - just three years short of the maximum available - and he will be dishonorably discharged from the Marine Corps Russell White loved.

"We hope that the sentence delivered to Pimienta will serve as a great deterrence to any Marine who feels his weapon is a toy," Adam said.

But there's still one problem.

The Whites never had the chance to face Russell's killer. Pimienta, who was not being held in the Camp Lejeune brig, was last seen Monday. He missed the court-martial and unless authorities find him, he won't serve his sentence.

"It feels good to know the truth, to know the whole story from the people that were there," Dennis said. "We still need to find this guy. He needs to serve his sentence. Until he's behind bars serving his sentence, no real closure will be possible."


   'America's Most Wanted' to air segment Saturday on Pimienta
June 23,2005
ROSELEE PAPANDREA
COURTESY OF THE DAILY NEWS

Camp Lejeune authorities are hoping that a 15-second blurb on national TV will help them find a Marine private convicted earlier this month of killing another Marine in Afghanistan last June.

Private Frederico Pimienta's photo and information about the shooting will be featured on a "15 Seconds of Shame" segment on "America's Most Wanted" at 9 p.m. Saturday on FOX.

"We haven't had any tips generated locally," said Kevin Naylon, assistant special agent in charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service at Camp Lejeune. "I think it's safe to say he is not in the local area. But we are trying to get a fix on where he is, and if this generates tips, that's what we need."

Pimienta, 23, of Hillside, New Jersey, has been missing since June 6 when he disappeared a day before his court-martial was to begin at Camp Lejeune. Pimienta's absence from court was considered voluntary, and he was tried and convicted of involuntary manslaughter for shooting 19-year-old Lance Corporal Russell White in the head while the two were in their hut at Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul.

Pimienta, who was attached to 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, was sentenced to 12 years in prison and was reduced in rank from lance corporal to private. He also received a dishonorable discharge.

He is now considered a Marine Corps deserter, and law enforcement throughout the East Coast has been advised to be on the lookout for him.

Both White's family and NCIS contacted "America's Most Wanted" to try and get some information about Pimienta on the air as soon as possible.

If Pimienta is not found following Saturday's show, a longer segment will be aired at a later date.

An NCIS agent will be in the studio Saturday to accept any calls generated by the "15 Seconds of Shame." Russell White's brother, Navy Ensign Dennis White, will also be there.

Any tips received after the show will be forwarded to NCIS.

Russell White's parents, Gregg and Patricia White of Dagsboro, Delaware, are hoping the information that will appear on TV and on the show's Web site amw.com will help authorities.

"I think we are very hopeful," Gregg White said. "If anything could do it, that show would do it."

The Whites are also offering a $2,500 reward for information that leads to Pimienta's arrest.

Jacksonville/Onslow Crime Stoppers is also offering a reward up to $2,500 for information.

The Whites were hopeful last week when they read a story in The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. that reported Pimienta was spotted on his parents' street by a neighbor who is also a police officer. Pimienta's family members contend they haven't seen him and that they didn't even know he was charged for the shooting until authorities asked questions about his disappearance.

Naylon said he found out about that possible sighting when he read the story and that his agency has no information to indicate that it was accurate.

"We know that they have the area staked out," Patricia White said. "If he's still in New Jersey, he's hiding well."

The Whites spent Monday - the one-year anniversary of their youngest son's death - at Arlington National Cemetery visiting Russell's gravesite. Visiting the cemetery, which they do almost once a month, isn't easy, but it's made more difficult because they know Pimienta is still missing.

"You go with the sense that you want there to be good news," Patricia White said. "When things aren't tied up, it's another heartache that you carry with you. It's just not closed yet."

Pimienta, who is Hispanic, is about 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs about 212 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes. The license plate number of his Honda Accord is SZD-7265.

Anyone with information about Pimienta can contact NCIS at (910) 451-6539 or Crime Stoppers at (910) 938-3273. Callers do not have to reveal their identity.


WHITE, RUSSELL PATRICK
LCPL   US MARINE CORPS
VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 02/20/2003 - 06/20/2004
DATE OF BIRTH: 08/01/1984
DATE OF DEATH: 06/20/2004
DATE OF INTERMENT: 07/07/2004
BURIED AT: SECTION 60  SITE 7991
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

RP White Gravesite PHOTO
 Photo Courtesy of Holly, August 2005

Webmaster: Michael Robert Patterson


Posted: 24 June 2004  Updated: 26 June 2004 27 June 2004  Updated: 30 June 2004 Updated: 25 August 2004  Updated: 4 December 2004 Updated: 11 June 2005 Updated: 21 August 2005 Updated: 15 January 2006 Updated: 5 May 2008 Updated: 14 May 2008

RP White Gravesite PHOTO May 2008
Photo By Michael Robert Patterson, May 2008

RP White Gravesite PHOTO

RP White Gravesite PHOTO

RP White Gravesite PHOTO
Photos By M. R. Patterson, 2 December 2004