E.A. White Elementary School celebrated its golden anniversary Jan. 31 with a special program for former and current students and faculty. The event highlighted the school’s history — including its namesake, 1st Lt. Edward White, the Korean War veteran for whom the school was dedicated in 1962.
Lucy Rasco, White’s only surviving relative, traveled from San Antonio to attend the ceremony. “I’m just proud that I am part of the family the school is named after,” Rasco said. “I wish you continued success for many, many years.”
During her visit, students were able to ask Rasco questions about her family. They also recorded a video interview with retired Lt. Gen. William Caldwell III, a classmate of White’s at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The two Soldiers graduated in 1948 before sailing together to Japan. Caldwell shared his memories about the lieutenant with a crowd of more than 300 gathered for the anniversary celebration.
“He was a fun-loving guy,” Caldwell said, “but he was also very dedicated. He really wanted to become an Army officer, so his whole mantra was focused toward getting that job done the very best that he could. He was a very professional person. He took his duties very seriously.”
Fifth-graders Anna Czernia, Kaleigh Feger and Cameron Johnson shared some more about White, including his years as an elementary school student on Fort Benning, his training on post and his valor on the front lines.White deployed to Korea July 12, 1950, with F Company, 5th Cavalry Regiment, Kaleigh said.
“Six days later they arrived in the vicinity of Yongdong, where they were immediately committed to combat,” she said. “His battalion was then ordered to Kumchon and assigned the mission of covering the withdrawal of the division. On Aug. 2, 1950, while leading his men in this mission, Edward Ansel White was killed in action. For his valiant conduct on the battlefield, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.”
The program also included a Korean War era vignette, a presentation of an original painting of the school and a display of items gathered for preservation in a time capsule. The capsule will be buried at the site of the new school, slated for construction in the next few years, and unearthed at the school’s centennial anniversary.
The guest speaker for event, which principal Glenn Hughes called a “commemorative moment in the spirit of Fort Benning,” was Fort Benning’s commanding general, Maj. Gen. Robert Brown.
“It’s not just a name,” Brown said, referring to the school’s namesake. “We all know we’re very fortunate that brave men and women who are out there serving our country allow us to be free.”
The anniversary program was followed by a reception and school tours for guests to see more of the White Elementary’s operations.