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First Name: Arthur

Last Name: Whittington

Birthplace: Bangs, Brown, TX, US

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Byrant

Date of Birth: 28 November 1920

Date of Death: 05 June 1943 (Presumed)

MIA Date: 04 June 1942

Rank: Private First Class

Years Served: 1941-1943

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Arthur Bryant Whittington

Private First Class, United States Marine Corps

Distinguished Flying Cross & Purple Heart

Arthur Bryant was a son of Montrey "Montie" Ray Whittington and Zola May Sherman who married on 08 May 1910 in Milam county, TX. His siblings were all born in Texas. They were Bessie Mae (d.y.), Woodrow "Woodie" Wilson, Georgia Dell, Bernie Ray, Jimmie George, and John Thomas Whittington. The Whittington family arrived in California in 1928. Four of the sons served in WWII; Woodie, Arthur, Jimmy and John.

Arthur Bryant Whittington graduated from Chino High School, Chino, CA on 04 Jun 1940. He enlisted as a Private in the USMC on 27 Feb 1941 in the Volunteer Marine Corps Reserve (Class III (b)) and was assigned to the Fourth Recruit Battalion, Recruit Depot, MCB, San Diego. On 18 April 1941 he qualified as a Marksman. He graduated from recruit training a short time later and was assigned as a student at the Radio Operator school. He graduated on 18 July 1941 and the next day he was transferred from the Radio School Company, SigDet, San Diego to the Base Air Detachment Two, NAS, San Diego. On 23 July he was transferred to 2nd Marine Air Group, FMF at the Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor. He embarked and sailed from San Diego via the USS Aylwin (DD-355). He was transferred later that year to Marine Scout-Bombing Squadron-231, MAG-21, 2d MAW by Oct 1941 at Ewa, Oahu, T.H on temporary duty.

Between 01-12 Jan 1942, he was on squadron temporary additional duty (STAD). On 7 Jan his unit was on board a naval vessel and between 12-31 January they were engaged in a classified mission. Private Whittington was promoted to Private First Class on 13 Jan 1942. His unit's designation was changed on 10 Jan 1942 to Marine Scout-Bombing Squadron 231, Marine Aviation Detachment. He was designated an aviation gunner in April 1942 and on 11 April he was transferred to VMSB-241, MAG-22. He was a gunner/radioman for pilot Captain Leo R. Smith until 29 May 1942 when Major Benjamin Norris became the new pilot.

On the morning of 04 Jun 1942 Major Norris with PFC Whittington as his gunner, took off from NAS Midway to find and attack the enemy Japanese strike force approaching Midway. As they arrived near the Japanese forces, enemy aircraft and heavy anti-aircraft fire began taking its toll on the marine planes. Major Norris and his gunner survived the first attack and returned safely to Midway. Later that afternoon they were sent again to find several enemy carriers that were reported to be burning. Shortly after 1900 hours, Maj Henderson led 11 dive-bombers on the mission to find these carriers. They found no sign of the enemy so they began to turn back. Inexplicably, Major Norris' plane began a step dive and disappeared into the blackness of the night. Neither man was ever seen again. Their remains were unrecoverable. Whittington was reported missing in action on 04 June 1942 and declared presumed dead on 05 June 1943.

PFC Whittington was awarded posthumously the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one battle star, American Defense Service Medal, and World War II Victory Medal. He may also be eligible for the American Campaign Medal.


Distinguished Flying Cross Citation reads:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumously) to Arthur B. Whittington Private First Class, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a Radioman-Gunner in Marine Scout-Bombing Squadron TWO HUNDRED FORTY-ONE, during the Battle of Midway, 4 and 5 June 1945. In a determined attack against the invading Japanese Fleet, Corporal Webb, serving as rear-seat free machine-gunner, maintained fire in the face of overwhelming enemy fighter opposition and fierce anti-aircraft barrage with the result that he probably shot down one enemy fighter plane. Further, he operated his machine gun and radio during a search and attack flight on the night of 4 June, but failed to return from this mission. Because of circumstances attendant upon this engagement, there can be little doubt that he gallantly gave up his life in the service of his country. His courage and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 311 (February 1943)


Marine Air Group 22 Presidential Unit Citation reads:

"For conspicuous courage and heroism in combat at Midway Island during June 1942. Outnumbered five to one, Marine Aircraft Group 22 boldly intercepted a heavily escorted enemy bombing force, disrupting their attack and preventing serious damage to island installations. Operating with half of their dive-bomber's obsolete and in poor mechanical conditions, which necessitated vulnerable glide bombing tactics, they succeeded in inflicting heavy damage on Japanese surface units of a large enemy task force. The skill and gallant perseverance of flight and ground personnel of Marine Aircraft Group 22, fighting under tremendously adverse and dangerous conditions were essential factors in the unyielding defense of Midway."


PFC Whittington's family received a commemoration from President Roosevelt. It reads:

“In grateful memory of Arthur Bryant Whittington, United States Marine Corps, who died in the service of his country at Midway Islands, 5 June 1943 (Presumed). He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live, and grow, and increase its blessings. Freedom lives, and through it, he lives – in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.

(signed), Franklin D Roosevelt,

President of the United States of America


Chino Champion (Chino, CA) - 31 May 1940, Fri - p. 1

Two Programs Scheduled for 76 Seniors

Two big events in the lives of 76 high school seniors will take place Sunday and Tuesday nights when the annual baccalaureate and commencement exercises will be held in the high school auditorium. . . . Those listed for graduation are . . . More Graduates . . . Arthur Whittington.


Chino Champion (Chino, California) – 05 Sep 1941, Fri – p. 1

Chino Marine Writes To Champion From Hawaii Station

Private Arthur B. Whittington, U.S.M. Corps, writes the Champion from Hawaii that he has been assigned to the Marine Aircraft Wing from the base at San Diego and expects to be attached to the Scouting Squadron as a radioman. Whittington, former Chino high school athlete, took training at San Diego and advises that he graduated from the Marine radio school there with one of the highest grades in the class. He was immediately transferred to the Hawaiian unit stationed on the island of Oahu, nineteen miles out of Honolulu. Admitting that he never knew there were so many different kinds of radio sets until he reached his present station, Whittington says he turns dials in his sleep. He expects to receive an advancement in rating shortly.


Chino Champion (Chino, California) – 19 Dec 1941, Fri – p. 1

A form post card dispatched from the island of Oahu in the Hawaiian group told relatives that Arthur B. Whittington, now with a marine aircraft squadron, is safe. Young Whittington is a radio operator and has been stationed in Hawaii since August.


Chino Champion (Chino, California) – 19 Jun 1942, Fri – p. 1

Arthur Whittington Missing After Action with Marines In Battle at Midway Islands

Three Other Chino Boys Rescued from Burning Lexington, Sunk in Coral Sea; Fate of John Esparza Still Mystery

War struck still closer to Chinoans this week when word was received by relatives that Arthur B. Whittington, erstwhile Chino high school athlete, member of the U.S. Marine Corps, was reported missing in action following the recent battle at Midway Islands. Whittington, a graduate of Chino high with the class of 1940, enlisted in the Marines February 28, 1941, and trained at San Diego before going to Hawaii. He was at Pearl Harbor when war broke out.

Worked in Radio

In the service he became interested in radio work and became proficient to the extent that he was stationed at Hickam Field as an instructor. He was transferred to Midway as a radio operator in the Marine corps and in this service also became a bombardier. It was in this capacity that he was serving and is presumed to have been a member of a bomber crew forced down and lost in the recent action which proved so disastrous to the Japanese navy. The report that he is missing only gives rise to the faint hope that he and other members of the crew may have been picked up and taken elsewhere.

Sister-in-Law Notified

Word that the 21-year old Marine was missing came in a telegram the first of the week to his sister-in-law, Mrs. Woodrow Whittington in Pomona, whose husband is in the camouflage section of the army, and with whom Arthur made his home. While attending school here, he took part in football, basketball, baseball and track. Previous reports of missing Chinoans in the war concerned Richard Whitney of the army and Elmer Sharpe of the navy. Both are presumed to be prisoners of war, the former taken at Bataan and the later at Cavite naval station in Manila harbor.


Chino Champion (Chino, California) – 23 Oct 1942, Fri – p. 1

Jim Whittington Will Seek Revenge for Brother’s Loss in Battle

Seeking to avenge the loss of his brother, Marine Corps Bombardier Arthur Whittington, Jim C. Whittington 20-year – old former Chino high athlete, last week signed up as a naval aviation cadet and is awaiting his call to enter training. He is the third Whittington to enter the service of his country for in addition to the one reported missing in the battle of Midway, Woodrow Whittington is a sergeant with a camouflage battery of the army at Fort Ord. Jim Whittington graduated last spring from the local high school where he was a letterman for three years on the baseball team, playing at first and third bases. He also played with the Chino Merchants and nightball with local as well as Pomona teams.


Chino Champion (Chino, California) – 15 Jan 1943, Fri – p. 1

Arthur Whittington Missing Marine, Awarded Navy DFC

Listed among the 84 pilots and aerial gunners decorated for their thrilling defense of Midway island (sic) last June when the Japanese air and sea armada was soundly whipped and turned back in the first real defeat suffered by the Nipponese is Arthur B. Whittington, private first class, U.S. Marine corps. Whittington, graduate of Chino high school where he was an outstanding athlete and scholar, was a radioman and bombardier in the Marine flying force stationed on Midway when the Japs attacked. Following the Battle of Midway, relatives of the popular Chino youth were notified that he was missing in action and presumably lost. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. The heroic fight staged by the Marine flying force in staving off the attacking force, aided by army and navy units, has just been told by the navy department. It chronicles the exploits of a greatly outnumbered aerial group of 25 fighter planes and 27 dive-bombers which went through the operations at a loss of 13 fighter pilots and more than half of the bomber pilots and gunners. Decorations were awarded to all members of the detachment and their ground crews, numbering a total of 59 men, were given commendations.


Combat Action Ribbon (CR) note:

None of the Navy/Marine flight crews in the Battle of Midway were eligible for or were awarded the Combat Action Ribbon (CR). See Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual (SECNAVINST M-1650.1 of 16 Aug 2019, Appendix 2C.1.c (3) Amplifying Guidance). It reads in part, “The CR will not be awarded in connection with aerial flight, . . . “ The CR was established in 1969 and made retroactive to 07 Dec 1941. According to the Awards Manual, when deemed appropriate, the award for aerial combat was/is the Air Medal.

[Bio #222 composed by Gerry Lawton (GML470])

Honoree ID: 104397   Created by: MHOH




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