After 76 years a young Marine will be Returning Home from Battle

At 2:00 pm on November 22, 2019 Channing Robert Whitaker, son of Luther & Retta Whitaker, will receive full military burial honors 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 devotion and 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 to join the US Marine Corps.

Channing enlisted in the US Marine Corps December 14, 1942 from Granger, Iowa. He completed his recruit training at the Recruit Depot, MCB San Diego. During his training he was assigned to both A and B Companies, Infantry Battalion, MCB Camp Elliott, CA. On July 21, 1943 he was assigned to the 24th Replacement Battalion.

The young recruit embarked on the SS Sommelsdijk at San Diego on July 29, 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.

On October 23, 1943 he embarked on the USS Feland (APA-11) at Wellington, NZ. During November 7-12, 1943 he participated in landing rehearsals at Efate, New Hebrides, the island group in the South Pacific. His unit deployed November 20, 1943 as an offshore reserve during D-Day operations at Tarawa Atoll, a remote island of the Gilberts group.

It was November 21, 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 brothers 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.” With the advent of technology, DNA samples recently enabled his identification.

The family is extremely grateful to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, the Republic of Kiribati and History Flight, Inc., for their partnership in this mission.

Our heartfelt thanks to the US Marine Corps, Quanitco, VA for their assistance and Chaplain Theron Conrey, Lt Col, USAF, Retired leading the USMC Honor Guard during these memorable events. Our appreciation to the Patriot Guard Riders of Iowa for leading the processions.

For additional information, please contact Dennis or Marla S. Brubaker, 170 Timber Ridge Road, Drasco, Arkansas 72530.  Cell Phone: 501-691-2766, Home Phone: 501-825-7876.  (or

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