Jeep tribute honors Oliver Springs vet who served as driver to Gen. Patton

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By Cindy Simpson

A  U.S. military jeep similar to one driven by a hometown hero for one of World War II’s most famed generals was dedicated to the Tri-County Chapter 26 Disabled American Veterans.

The vehicle is much like one Fred White Jr. drove as Gen. George S. Patton’s driver in World War II,
and the dedication was in the deceased Oliver Springs veteran’s memory and in honor of all U.S. veterans.
“It is just an honor,” said Jerry White of the DAV’s decision to honor his father’s memory. “We were thrilled.”
The elder White died in March 2012.
“We feel blessed we have freedom because Dad served his country,” Jerry White said. “He was proud of his service and the accomplishments he made.”
Jerry White said the DAV took the jeep to his brother Rickey White, who owns Tennessee Metalizing, and Rickey took apart the vehicle, sanded it and put it back together.
When asked what the DAV could do for appreciation, Rickey White mentioned his father’s service and that he drove a similar jeep when driving for Patton.
Rickey White said his father didn’t talk much about his war time, and the fact he was a driver for Patton was one of the few mentions of that time he did share.
Family and friends prodded Fred White in his later years to share more so his children would have the information.
A release from the DAV said the vehicle was acquired and a memorial site prepped thanks to many individuals including Frank Phillips and Charlie Duncan; Dean Wright; Tony Crass and C&C Concrete; Max Martin and Creative Fabrication of Oliver Springs; and Rickey White and Tennessee Metalizing of Oliver Springs.
According to Fred White’s obituary, he served in the Civilian Conservative Corps, working in Cades Cove between 1938-40.
He earned the rank of cor-
poral, and served in the Army Battery C 78th, Armored Field Artillery Battalion from July 1940-June 1945.
Fred White served in French Morocco, Sicily, Normandy, Northern France and Germany, and he was awarded the Bronze Star for service on Aug. 10, 1944, in France.