Profile on keeper of a beacon

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As a young boy, John White certainly never imagined he would be the first black man in command of a Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse on Chesapeake Bay while ushering it into its 100th year of service.

Before he graduated high school, he had a glimpse into his future when he witnessed his two older brothers get drafted into the Army for the Vietnam War.

“I was drafted into the Army in 1969 a year after I had graduated high school,” said White.

After learning of his draft status, White took it upon himself to do some research into the armed services.

When he learned about the Coast Guard, White felt a certain connection.

“I heard about ice breaking, pollution response and the search and rescue cases,” said White. “I said, ‘man, I think I would like that.’”

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class David Marin has written a touching account of the life of a man dedicated to service.