Rear Adm. Jonathan White was born in Panama City, Florida. His father was a World War II Army Air Corps veteran and Purple Heart recipient; his mother supported the war through her work in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. His passion for the Navy and oceanography began at age seven, thanks to the influence of a Navy diver who lived next door.
White earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Oceanographic Technology from the Florida Institute of Technology in 1981 and holds a master’s degree in Meteorology and Oceanography from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.
After working at sea as a civilian oceanographer on board a seismic survey vessel, he was commissioned through Navy Officer Candidate School in 1983, and assigned as a surface warfare officer to USS John L. Hall (FFG 32) in Mayport, Florida.
White joined the oceanography community in 1987. Since then, he has had operational shore assignments at Jacksonville, Florida.; Guam; Monterey, California; and Stuttgart, Germany, where his joint duty included Special Operations Command Europe, and strike plans officer for U.S. European Command during Operation Allied Force in Kosovo and Serbia. White commanded Naval Training Meteorology and Oceanography Facility, Pensacola, Florida, and was the 50th superintendent of the United States Naval Observatory.
White’s sea tours as a naval oceanographer include commander, Cruiser Destroyer Group 12 where he completed deployments on board USS Saratoga (CV 60) and USS Wasp (LHD 1).
White was selected as a flag officer and honorary chief petty officer in 2009 and served as commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command. He was promoted to the rank of rear admiral (upper half) in August 2012 as he assumed his duties as director, Task Force Climate Change, and Navy deputy to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
White wears numerous personal and unit awards, which are all a tribute to the Sailors, Marines, Airmen, Soldiers, Coast Guardsmen, and civilians he has served alongside throughout his career.