At 2 p.m. on November 22, 2019 Channing Robert Whitaker, son of Luther & Retta Whitaker, will receive full military burial honors at Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines, Iowa. Channing was the seventh child born on August 17, 1925 in Granger, Iowa. The large family included two sisters and eight brothers: LaVern Arthur, Marie Vivian (McAuley), Jack Chauncey, Adeline Lavine (Brown), Luther Eugene, Frank Armistice, Chalma Neill, and Delmar Milton, all deceased. The youngest brother, Richard LeRoy, of Reno, NV, survives.
At a young age Channing experienced the patriotism of many of his siblings having entered into military service during World War II (1939-1945). When he turned 17 years old he desired to join the fight. Since he needed parental consent, his mother reluctantly signed her permission for him to join the US Marine Corps. All eight brothers served in the US Armed Forces and all returned to civilian life except for Channing.
Channing enlisted in the US Marine Corps 14 December, 1942 from Granger, Iowa. He completed his recruit training at the Recruit Depot, MCB San Diego. He was assigned to A and B Companies, Infantry Battalion, MCB Camp Elliott, CA. On 21 July, 1943 he was assigned to the 24th Replacement Battalion.
The young recruit embarked on the SS Sommelsdick at San Diego on 29 July, 1943 for movement overseas. Upon arrival at Wellington, New Zealand he was assigned to A Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, 2nd Marine Division at McKays Crossing.
His unit deployed 20 November, 1943 as an offshore reserve during D-Day operations at Tarawa Atoll, a remote island of the Gilberts group.
It was 21 November, 1943 when they landed on Green Beach Tarawa. The effort to take Green Beach was initially met with heavy resistance. During a large banzai attack Channing was killed in action on 22 November, 1943. “All gave some, some gave all.”
Channing and many of his comrades in combat were given a battle burial on the island. Over the many years hence the US Marine Corps followed the practice of “leaving no man behind.” After many years of research and with the advent of technology, recent DNA samples enabled his full identification.
A US Marine Honor Guard will meet Channing at the Des Moines International Airport on November 20. He will be buried with full military honors at Glendale Cemetery on November 22 in Des Moines, Iowa. Chaplain Theron Conrey, Lt Col, USAF, Retired will preside over the service. Semper Fi.
The Caldwell Parrish Funeral Home, in Urbandale, is in charge of the final arrangements.