Theodore's World: Happy Thanksgiving To All, and a BIG Thank You To Our Troops and Veterans

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November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving To All, and a BIG Thank You To Our Troops and Veterans

Thank you and thank you to all our Troops and to all of you Veterans. And I would also like to thank those of you that have loved ones serving now, sons, daughters, husbands and wives. You are serving too in such a special way. You are all in my thoughts and prayers every single day.


Wild Thing


C.J. Chivers and Staff Sgt. Gerald R. White. Chivers, formerly a Marine infantry officer, is a foreign correspondent for the Times. White is a dad, a soldier and a veteran three times over.

Both spent Thanksgiving in Afghanistan, and the former told the story of the latter today:

After all the turkey had been eaten, a huge soldier appeared for dinner. He was 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighed 260 pounds.

He introduced himself: Staff Sgt. Gerald R. White, 29, of Sistersville, W.Va. He was an artilleryman serving his third combat tour, this one as a noncommissioned officer who coordinates and directs fire from artillery, mortars and helicopter gunships.

As he prepared to fill his plate with the leftovers, the setting sun illuminated a fresh purple scar on the back of his neck.

Then came his story. He was wounded when a three-vehicle patrol was ambushed on Sept. 15 in Jalrez.

His vehicle was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade; shrapnel tore open his buttocks and his neck. The ambush blossomed. More and more of the rockets flew toward the broken vehicles and wounded soldiers, he said. Machine gun fire smacked their windows and doors.

Rockets struck the second vehicle’s turret alone three times, he said. Ten other soldiers had been wounded by the time reinforcements arrived and pushed the Taliban off.

Sgt. White spent four weeks recuperating at Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul. He returned to his tiny base without having been home to see his wife and three children, who are at Fort Bragg, in North Carolina.

Now he pulled something from his left breast pocket. It was a miniature metal placard of a Purple Heart. “I will never quit,” its engraving read.

Many of the soldiers here Thursday said that Thanksgiving meant football and beer. Sgt. White, scarred and as large as a fullback, spoke of his children, ages 11, 5 and 3.

“My little one, he’s my hero,” he said. “He was on his deathbed. He was born six weeks premature, and he had internal bleeding. He took three blood transfusions, but by the time he was 9 months old, he was fine.”

“His name is Gerald,” he said. “Gerald Jr.”

He added: “I’m proud of all three of them. I wish I could be there today. It’s a special moment. But I’ll make it up to them once I get home.”

After eating, Sgt. White returned to his post. A Polish patrol was heading north up Highway 1. Intelligence reports said that the Taliban’s spotters on the highway were organizing an ambush.

He paced beside the radios as darkness fell, listening for the Poles, ready to call down fire.

Some fun with our awesome troops!

Thank you Glenn M. Cassel AMH1(AW) USN RET for the photos of our troops.

Posted by Wild Thing at November 27, 2008 03:55 AM


What a beautiful story about Sgt. White. He sure has his priorities in the right place and his head screwed on right.
A very blessed Thanksgiving to all serving in all branches, whether overseas or stateside. You have done your jobs well and deserve a most wonderful holiday. You have my utmost appreciate and love.

Posted by: Lynn at November 27, 2008 06:08 AM

Thanks for the wonderful story about Sgt. White. God Bless all of our troopers. Have a great Thanksgiving.

Posted by: James R McKenna at November 27, 2008 08:46 AM

Happy Thanksgiving, WT!! Have a blessed day!
Love the photos!
And a Big Huge Thank You to all our Troops and their families. Lord knows, they also serve.

Posted by: yankeemom at November 27, 2008 09:09 AM

I love the Dog as the spotter.

Have a Great Thanksgiving WT, and everyone else with in earshot. Also remember if you got back for seconds, you will have to double you Lipitor dose, well at least I will.

Posted by: Mark at November 27, 2008 09:34 AM

Happy Thanksgiving to Team Theodore and to all our troops.

God Bless America.

Posted by: TomR at November 27, 2008 10:18 AM

Happy Thanksgiving WT! Great photos, I sent them around here at work today.
Thank You

Posted by: jim warren at November 27, 2008 12:10 PM

Happy Thanksgiving Chrissie, Team Theodore, and to all of our military (past and present) and their families that I am so thankful for.

Posted by: Les at November 27, 2008 12:26 PM

God bless America, and especially WT and everyone here.

Posted by: Rhod at November 27, 2008 04:47 PM

The Old Retired Petty Officer got these from his daughter-in-law. Ain't she something?!?!?!?

Posted by: Glenn M. Cassel AMH1(AW) USN RET at November 27, 2008 05:34 PM

Happy Thanksgiving to all the men and women in the military and to you and yours WT.

Posted by: Robert at November 27, 2008 07:21 PM

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, God Bless all!!!

Posted by: Jack at November 27, 2008 08:01 PM

To each one of you, I love you.
((( hug ))

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 27, 2008 11:50 PM