Res. Marine Pvt. Channing R. Whitaker

Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered all flags in Iowa to fly at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, November 22, 2019 to honor fallen Marine Corps Reserve Pvt. Channing R. Whitaker. 

Flags were flown at half-staff on the State Capitol Building and on flag displays in the Capitol Complex. Flags were also at half-staff on all public buildings, grounds and facilities throughout the state. Riverdale has now subscribed to alerts from the state capital and Washington, DC related to flag protocols for official days of mourning and celebration. 

According to a news release from Governor Reynolds’s office, it took over 75 years to find and return Pvt. Whitaker to his home state of Iowa from where he was lost in the Pacific during this country’s war against Imperial Japan:

Marine Corps Reserve Pvt. Channing R. Whitaker, of Granger, Iowa was killed in action on November 22, 1943. Pvt. Whitaker was a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Pvt. Whitaker’s remains were accounted for on May 29, 2019.

The Battle of Tarawa during World War II

Pvt. Whitaker was buried with full military honors, Friday afternoon (November 22, 2019) in a memorial service at Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines, Iowa.

A more complete story about Pvt. Whitaker and how his remains were returned home to Iowa can be found in this article in the Clinton Herald newspaper.