Statement for the Record by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
On Iowan’s Remains Coming Home After 76 Years
Friday, November 15, 2019
Mr. President, I rise today to pay tribute to a fallen soldier from Iowa, Private Channing Robert Whitaker. After 76 years, this Marine is finally coming home.
Inspired by the patriotism and service of his four older siblings who also served during World War II, Whitaker enlisted in the US Marine Corps in 1942 at the age of 17. After completing training, his unit deployed on November 20th, 1943 during the D-Day operations at Tarawa Atoll in the pacific. On November 22nd, 1943, Whitaker was killed in action during the effort to secure Betio Isalnd in the Tarawa Atoll. He was 18 years old. During this battle, over 3,000 U.S. Marines and Sailors were killed or wounded. After the war was over, there were efforts to repatriate all of the fallen. However, almost half of the known casualties were not recovered.
In March of this year, thanks to the efforts of History Flight, Inc., the Republic of Kiribati and the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, Whitaker’s remains were identified. On November 22nd, 2019, 76 years after he gave the last full measure of devotion in service to his country, Channing Whitaker will be buried with full military honors in Des Moines, Iowa.
Our country owes a debt of gratitude to all who have served in defense of our country, and especially to those who killed in action. I am grateful that this Iowan is finally coming home, and that his service and sacrifice will always be remembered.
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