Robert White was born on March 29, 1909, in Haiku, Maui, Hawaii. He graduated with a bachelor's degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1931, and earned his M.D. at Harvard Medical School in 1937. White was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Army Air Forces on August 14, 1941, and after completing Aviation Medical School at Randolph Army Airfield, Texas, he served as a Flight Surgeon with the 17th Bomb Group at Pendleton Army Airfield, Oregon, until he was selected for the Doolittle Mission in February 1942. Lt White was the gunner aboard the 15th B-25 to take off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) on April 18, 1942, and after bombing its assigned targets in Kobe, Japan, the crew ditched their aircraft in the water off the coast of China. After returning to the United States, Maj White served as a Flight Surgeon with bomber units in England, North Africa, and Italy before leaving active duty on November 22, 1945. Robert White died on November 29, 1992, and was buried at the Hillside Cemetery in Redlands, California.
His Distinguished Flying Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary achievement while participating in a highly destructive raid on the Japanese mainland on April 18, 1942. Lieutenant White volunteered for this mission knowing full well that the chances of survival were extremely remote, and executed his part in it with great skill and daring. This achievement reflects high credit on Lieutenant White and the military service.