JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas — It has been less than a year since Sgt. Ester White’s mom passed away. She credits her fellow Soldiers with helping her get through the difficult time by letting her know she was an integral part of the team.
“If I was a civilian at the same timeframe my mom passed away, I would’ve acted out way differently than I would have now,” said White, an automated logistics specialist assigned to U.S. Army South. “As a civilian, I would have just not gone back to work at all. But with the military, while I was on leave people were texting me, ‘when are you coming back? We need help!’”
White was born in Korea where she spent most of her childhood. Oftentimes, she has been mistaken as Pacific Islander, but she was born to a Korean mom and a dad of Black and Native American descent.
“I grew up in an Asian household,” said White. “Even though my dad was American, he speaks Korean.”
In 2012, White joined the Army National Guard at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania. In 2016 she began serving active duty and was stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia; Fort Carson, Colorado; U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, South Korea; and completed a nine-month rotation in Europe.
“In Korea, all of my Soldiers were straight out of [advanced individual training] and never left their barracks, so I found ways to get them out, and I was their tour guide,” said White. “It felt good to do something like that because it reminds me of my mom who was like that. She was always happy and always helping people. So It makes my day when I know I’m able to help my Soldiers.”
White, whose goal is to become a warrant officer or a first sergeant, said being in the Army has given her purpose and drive and has taught her resiliency. She plans to serve every day carrying on her mother’s legacy and following in her footsteps.
“Even though my mom was really tiny, she has really big shoes to fill,” said White. “I feel like my mom was the perfect person, and people can’t be perfect. But, when everyone says the same thing about my mom and how she impacted so many people in her life, I want to do things for people the way she did.”