Saturday, June 24, 2006

Brooklyn Marine killed in Iraq

June 24, 2006
On His 21st Birthday, a Marine Is Mourned

Lance Cpl. Nicholas J. Whyte did not tell anyone he was signing up for the Marines, his father recalled yesterday. The war in Iraq had just begun, and he knew his family would be upset. They were.

But yesterday, as he stood outside the family's home in Marine Park, Brooklyn, mourning the death of his son on what would have been his 21st birthday, Andre Whyte, a captain with the city's Department of Correction, said, "He never did anything a father couldn't be proud of."

The last time his family spoke with Corporal Whyte was Sunday, when he called Captain Whyte to wish him a happy Father's Day. He promised to be back in time for his father's birthday in September.

Three days later, on Wednesday, marines arrived at the doorstep of the Whyte home to inform the family that Corporal Whyte had been killed that day by an enemy sniper in Ramadi, where he was stationed on his second tour in Iraq. He died from a gunshot wound to the neck that severed his spinal cord....

....Though he had reservations about his son going to war, Captain Whyte said he supported his decision. "He was a soldier," Captain Whyte said. "He did what he was told and he went where he was told."

But when he got back from his first tour of duty, in Falluja, he had changed, his father said. "He was glad it was behind him," he said.

Before Corporal Whyte, who was based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., left in January for his second tour, Captain Whyte said, his son expressed his own doubts about going back. "He thought he might get hurt this time," he said. "He said, 'Dad, I'm really nervous about going a second time,' and I said: 'I know. Me, too.' "

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