Accounted For: Channing R. Whitaker

Today, the DPAA announced that Private Channing Robert Whitaker, of Granger, Iowa has been accounted for. Read their press release here.

Channing Whitaker, c. December 1942

Channing was born on 17 August 1925, the seventh of ten children raised by farmer Luther “Lute” Whitaker and his wife, Retta. Little is known about his life before the war, but he certainly grew up in a patriotic family. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Whitaker boys hurried to enlist. Channing, the youngest of the five, entered the Marine Corps on 14 December 1942, at the age of seventeen.

Private Whitaker completed boot camp at MCRD San Diego and infantry training at Camp Elliot, California. Assigned to the 23rd Replacement Battalion in July of 1943, he sailed from the United States shortly thereafter and was assigned to a platoon of Company A, First Battalion, 6th Marines upon his arrival in New Zealand. He observed his eighteenth birthday during a period of intensive training as the 2nd Marine Division prepared for their next objective – Operation GALVANIC, which would go down in history as the battle of Tarawa.

Channing would spend less only about twenty-four hours of his short life in combat. On 22 November 1943, he was shot in the chest by enemy fire, and died shortly thereafter. He was buried in a mass grave on Betio, Tarawa atoll, and lay there undiscovered until early 2019. A History Flight expedition uncovered “Row D” and brought the remains back to the United States for laboratory analysis. Of approximately thirty remains recovered, Channing Whitaker was among the first to be identified.

Welcome home, Private Whitaker. Semper Fi.

We are actively seeking information for Private Whitaker’s profile page.

Are you a family member or former comrade of this Marine? Do you have stories or photos to share? Please contact MissingMarines and help us tell his story.

3 Replies to “Accounted For: Channing R. Whitaker”

  1. Welcome home Uncle Channing. You served your country and your family proudly.

  2. Known by the nickname Sharp Chin by his brothers, Channing once made biscuits that were so rubbery they bounced back when thrown against the wall. According to his oldest brother, LaVern, he had to eat two bunches of bananas to gain enough weight to meet the minimum requirements to get into the Marine Corp. In a letter from Corporal Johnson, a fellow Tarawa combatant, Channing was paid the highest tribute that could be given a Marine. “You should well be proud of your son Mrs.Whitaker, as we are, for we saw him conduct himself as a true Marine.” We are proud of you Channing and very thankful you are home.

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