Verdugo Hills High School

Hall of Fame » Steve White (U.S. armed forces)

Steve White (U.S. armed forces)

Admiral Steven A. White, USN
Verdugo Hills High School Class of 1946

Steve White graduated from Verdugo Hills High School in 1946 and went on to a very distinguished career in the United States Navy, most of it in the submarine service. He rose through the ranks to eventually become Chief of Navy Material and he has the distinction of being one of the crew members on the first ship ever to reach the North Pole!

After graduation from Verdugo, Admiral White attended Occidental College for two years and then transferred to the University of Southern California under the Naval ROTC program. At USC, he earned a Bachelors degree in Political Science and a Masters degree in International Law.

Upon graduation from USC in 1952, Admiral White received a commission as an Ensign in the Navy. For the next year-and-a-half he served on the light cruiser USS Manchester (CL 83) during the Korean War. In November 1953, he was transferred to Submarine School and promoted to Lieutenant (j.g.) the following month. After graduation from submarine school in June 1954, he served as Engineer Officer on the submarine USS Tang (SS 563) for two years. 

In 1956, Admiral White was promoted to Lieutenant and, after completing Nuclear Power Training, was assigned to the nuclear submarine USS Nautilus (SSN 571). He served in this ship during its 1957 Arctic exploratory operations for which the Nautilus received a Secretary of the Navy Commendation. He was also on board when, in 1958, the Nautilus became the first ship ever to reach the North Pole. The ship and crew was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation for its historic transpolar crossing. This was the first time such an award was ever made in peacetime.

In September 1960, he reported to the commissioning crew of the nuclear submarine USS Ethan Allen (SSBN 608). He served aboard the Ethan Allen first as Engineer Officer and then, upon promotion to Lieutenant Commander in 1961, as the ship's Executive Officer. He was on board the Ethan Allen when the ship conducted the only fully operational test ever made of a submarine launched strategic missile with warhead, the Christmas Island test of 1962.

From September 1964 to May 1966, Admiral White was the Force Nuclear Power Training Officer for the Deputy Commander Submarine Force and later for the Commander Submarine Force for the U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

He was promoted to the rank of Commander in April 1966 and took command of the nuclear submarine USS Pargo (SSN 650) the following September. During the almost three years he was Commanding Officer of the Pargo, the ship was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation and the Navy Unit Commendation.

From August 1969 to October 1970, Admiral White commanded Submarine Division One Hundred Two and, from February to May 1970, he was also Commander of Submarine Division One Hundred One. From November 1970 to May 1972, he served as Assistant for Training and Personnel Matters for the Navy Nuclear Power Program. During this time period, he was promoted to Captain.

Admiral White commanded Submarine Squadron Sixteen in Rota, Spain, from June 1972 through July 1974, at the completion of which he was designated a Rear Admiral. From September 1974 to June 1976, he commanded Submarine Group Two at New London, Connecticut. He served as the Deputy Chief of Material (Operations and Logistics) from June 1976 to September 1978 and as the Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Submarine Warfare) from September 1978 to May 1980.

In May 1980, Admiral White was designated a Vice Admiral and was assigned to his sixth sea command as Commander of Submarine Force for the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. He served in that capacity through June 1983, when he was nominated for the rank of Admiral. At that time, he returned to Washington, DC, to assume the duties of Chief of Naval Material.

In addition to the previously mentioned unit citations, Admiral White's personal decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (four awards), the Meritorious Service Medal and the Navy Commendation Medal.

Steve White is married to Mary Anne Landreau, also a Verdugo Hills HS graduate. They have four daughters and three sons, four of whom are in the naval service and two of whom are married to naval officers.