By David Tulis
The photographs of Lt. Cmdr. Tim White published in the local newspaper show him in striking Navy whites, surrounded by family members.
Protesters this Wednesday in downtown Chattanooga will have this portrait in mind as they stand in support of the Navy man who fired a personal pistol at Muslim assassin Mohammed Abdulazeez July 16 in his attack on soft targets of the U.S. military stationed here.
The gathering is sponsored by a Chattanoogans for Justice, a Facebook group launched by Chrissy Essex, a single mother of two girls who is angry at the idea he might be court martialed over having had his weapon on the property in an irregular way.
The show of support is slated for Wednesday at noon in front of the Joel Solomon federal building downtown opposite Miller Park.
Investigation halfway done
The Navy is investigating the attack and how the department could have arranged itself better and lost fewer lives. Twenty people overseen by Rear Adm. Frank Morneau are looking at “how well the Navy communicated with law enforcement and medical responders, and how survivors and victims were supported during and after the attack.”
The pending accusations against Mr. White are a detail within the larger investigation. But taken by itself, his prosecution readily could become an office unto itself is what would be a politically charged case. The Navy would prosecute him for administrative and paperwork violations relating to the bringing of his handgun into the facility, its storage and the recordkeeping of its comings and goings. It seems unlikely anyone would complain officially about the use of the weapon to defend his fellow Navy members and Marines on the grounds.
“The recommendations from procedure, policy and regulations as well as infrastructure changes, could impact facilities Navywide,” Capt. Jack Hanzlik, Fleet Forces Command public affairs officer, tells the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “Chattanooga is not co-located on a large military base, and so, because of that uniqueness, this would have potential implications for other similar facilities.” Mr. Hanzlik refuses to comment on the investigation of Mr. White, who was ICO, or installation commanding officer, when Mr. Abdulazeez shot up the post. The Navy probe began Aug. 11 and will run to the end of September.
Contradicting my reporting about Lt. Cmdr. White is a rumor passed along by an active veterans group member in Chattanooga who says one of Mr. White’s superiors is pursuing a medal for heroism. Of this claim I am skeptical and was not able today to corroborate it.
Lt. Cmdr. White is a practicing Christian and the father of seven children. The youngest with his wife Franicia is still in utero.
Mrs. White is publishing an illustrated book, I Know You Love Me, Mommy and Daddy, for which the Whites held in March a crowdfunding effort online soliciting F$2,500. The couple raised F$2,752 from 38 people.
The family attends a Baptist church that believes in the doctrine of God’s sovereign grace.
Mr. White recounts his conversion on the couple’s website, http://www.timandfranicia.com/
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Sources: Shelly Bradbury, “Navy launches official investigation into Chattanooga attack,” Chattanooga Times Free Press, Aug. 29, 2015. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2015/aug/29/navy-launches-official-investigatichattanooga/322404/