Exclusive video: Former sailor writes out Afghan casualties' names from memory


First, watch the video. Then, read below for a bit more about what you’ve witnessed.

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We told you earlier this month about former Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Ron White’s memory feat: He knows the name of every service member, and many U.S. civilians, killed during the war in Afghanistan. That’s almost 2,200 people. It took 10 months for the memory expert to find a home for more than 7,000 words — names and ranks — in his brain, using the same type of memory tricks that have earned him national recognition.

On March 19 in San Antonio, he wrote those names with a white pen on a black wall meant to evoke the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It was his second time performing the test of mental and physical endurance, and this time, Military Times senior video journalist Colin Kelly was on hand to capture the action.
Set to a slow, haunting piece of piano music, Kelly’s video brings more to the table than a guy with a marker — White tells of the inspiration behind what he calls Operation Enduring Memory as name upon name of handwritten history appears on a 50-foot-wide, 7-foot-tall instant monument, and onlookers share their appreciation and amazement.

“Some of them say, ‘We feel like the United States has just forgotten about our family members, and just gone on like it was no big deal. Thank you for saying it is a big deal,'” White said. “It’s been very humbling.”


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  1. Steven B. Southwick on

    Thank you Specialist White.
    As an in-law to Cpt J Brainard 5/28/13,
    let me say this is exceptionally
    meaningful to family members.

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