Master Sergeant Eric White was in Iraq when America launched its initial assault against Saddam Hussein.
"I was there for four months," he remembered as he stared at a map of the Iraqi region.
The Marine recently landed in an office at Gulfport's Seabee base. And now, he faces a much tougher challenge. The 41-year-old must help a detachment stationed at the Seabee base cope with the loss of two Marines.
"Being an outsider, it helps me in a sense that I can sit here and talk to you about it," he said.
White never met Cpl. David Stewart or Lance Cpl. Kevin Waruinge. But he respected what they represented on and off the battlefield. Their deaths rattled everybody at the Marines' Gulfport office.
"It's very difficult. This is a severe blow," White said.
New reports indicate that Iraqi insurgents may have developed a stronger roadside bomb. And that bomb may have been used Wednesday in the attack on the U.S. Marines.
Master Sergeant White used to be right in the middle of conflict like that. But now that he's stateside, the operations' chief must look at this tragedy from a completely different perspective.
"I see the Marines. I see the faces. I see the pictures," White said. "I know there is a family that this person represents, not only a Marine Corps family, but his personal family as well."
And now it's up to White and his small Marine staff in Gulfport to comfort those grieving family members.
A third member of the Gulfport Marine detachment was injured when the roadside bomb exploded. White said Lance Corporal Chris Borne should make a full recovery.
by Brad Kessie
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