LtJg Robert Scott “Scottie” Whitman, Jr

Photo added by G47

LtJg Robert Scott “Scottie” Whitman, Jr

Johnson City, Broome County, New York, USA
Death 4 Jun 1942 (aged 26)
At Sea
Cenotaph Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA
Plot Courts of the Missing
Memorial ID 56135310 · View Source
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Robert Scott Whitman and Margaret Stockbridge were married on 22 Aug 1913 in Emmett, MI. They were the parents of two children: Robert Scott Jr and George Stockbridge Whitman.

Robert Jr graduated from Binghamton Central High School in June 1933, after playing tackle on the varsity football team for two years, ranking 29th in the large graduating class, serving as business manager of the school paper and writing for the Panorama. He also managed the baseball team and was a delegate to the Red Cross convention at Washington in his sophomore year. After a year at Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA, in which he played football, he entered the US Naval Academy. He was graduated with credit in the top third of his class in 1939. Scottie married Josephine Jackson of San Francisco, CA on 21 March 1942.

Robert Scott Whitman, Jr. was appointed a midshipman at the US Naval Academy from New York on 24 August 1935. According to the Lucky Bag yearbook of the US Naval Academy of 1939, Robert Scott Whitman, "Whit" or "Scottie" as he was known was very active in extracurricular activities at the Academy. He played football for several years, and was active in Glee Club, Musical Club Show, Assistant Director, Stunt Committee, Chairman, Chairman Activities, Committee, Log Staff, Feature editor, Trident and Stripe. His classmates wrote this about him, "Hailing from the apparently thriving climate of Binghamton, where men achieve bulk and vigor (and his drags are proud of it) he found the mechanical arts here less palatable than the liberal arts at college. By 'Jumping numbers' continuously since plebe year, he proved, however, that his mind was readily acclimated to the new curriculum. Either his impatience to put to sea or his early civilian independence netted him a month cruise not included in plebe training. Fortunately, in later years he has been more judicious with nocturnal exploits over the mutual obstructions. For two years, he devoted his brawn to the gridiron, but an injury directed his attentions along literary lines. Equal versatility aboard and ashore will make him a grand shipmate."

He graduated on 01 Jun 1939 from Annapolis. After sea duty aboard the heavy cruiser USS Quincy (CA 39) from 26 June 1939 to 1 February 1941, Whitman began heavier-than-air flight instruction on 17 March 1941 at the Naval Air Station at Pensacola, Fla. He earned his naval aviator wings there and then received further instruction at the Transition Training Squadron, Pacific Fleet, before he reported to Patrol Squadron (VP) 44 on 4 November 1941.

Patrol Squadron Forty-four (VP-44) departed from the Naval Air Station, Alameda, CA for Pearl Harbor, T.H., in two divisions of six planes each. The first of these left the United States on March 26, 1942. The second, because of unfavorable weather, delayed its departure until April 12. Ordered to Midway for extended operations, PATRON 44 arrived at Eastern Island on the 22nd of May and began long-range reconnaissance flights on 27 May. During the first few days of June 1942, the VP-23 and VP-44 PBYs based at Midway flew long patrols over the trackless ocean, searching for signs of enemy shipping. Then on 3 Jun came the first surface contact reports from the VP-23 PBY searchers. The following day, 04 Jun 1942, pilot Lt. (j.g.) Robert S. Whitman and his PBY-5A Catalina from VP-44 were airborne again when he reported contact at 0925 with enemy ships (probably the Japanese Occupation Force), antiaircraft fire, and that his aircraft was being "opposed by two enemy observation planes." Japanese Mitsubishi F1M2 Type 0 floatplanes from the seaplane carrier Chitose had attacked Ltjg Whitman's Catalina about 340 miles west of Midway. During the attack, Whitman and four other crewmen were killed and one mortally wounded, and the plane set afire. AOM2c Philip L. Fulghum, the PBY’s bow gunner, continued to man his .50-caliber machine gun, and sent one of the attackers away trailing smoke. On his own initiative, with a crash imminent, Fulghum released the plane’s two 500-pound bombs. After the crash, AMM1c Virgil Ruel Marsh, despite the roaring flames, freed a rubber boat from the plane, which AMM2c John C. Weeks repaired. Fulghum then assisted the wounded into the raft. Several days later, June 6, 1942, a PBY commanded by Ltjg Norman Bradley located the five men in the raft. He safely picked them up and returned them to Midway. Ensign Camp died on Midway of his wounds on 07 Jun 1942. After the battle of Midway, Patrol Squadron 44 returned to Pearl Harbor on 09 Jun 1942.

Ltjg Whitman was awarded (posthumously) the Purple Heart. His remains were unrecoverable.
The family of Robert Scott Whitman received a commemoration from President Roosevelt. It reads:

“In grateful memory of Robert Scott Whitman, Jr., United States Navy, 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)”

(Compiler's note: *Presumed dead on 5 Jun 1943. Actual date gone missing was 4 Jun 1942.)
The crew of 44-P-12 (call sign 8V55)

ACRM James W. Adams, (Radio Operator)
(KIA-Drowned after clearing downed aircraft)
Ens Jack H Camp (Observer) (Died of Wounds 7 Jun 1942)
Philip L. Fulghum, AOM2, (Bombarier/Bow gunner) (WIA - exposure)
Virgil R. Marsh, AMM1, (Flight Engineer) (WIA - exposure)
Ensign Lee Coleman McCleary (Navigator) (WIA)
Ensign Walter H. Mosley, (Co-pilot) (KIA)
Norby, Clarence J. Jr. AMM3c (Gunner) (KIA)
RM3c William H. O'Farrell, (Gunner)(KIA)
Weeks, John C. AMM2c (Gunner) (WIA)
Lt.(jg) Robert S. Whitman, (Pilot) (KIA)

USS Whitman (DE-24) was named in his honor. USS Whitman was an Evarts-class destroyer escort. The keel was laid on 7 Sept 1942 in the Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA. She was launched on 19 Jan 1943; sponsored by Mrs Josephine P. Whitman, the widow of Lt.(jg.) Robert Scott Whitman. It was commissioned on 03 July 1943, decommissioned on 01 Nov 1945 and sold for scrap on 31 Jan 1947. The Whitman was sent promptly into the Pacific Ocean to protect convoys and other ships from Japanese submarines and aircraft. The Whitman earned four battle stars for service during WWII.
Combat Action Ribbon (CR) note:
None of the Navy/Marine flight crews in the Battle of Midway was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon (CR). See Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual (SECNAVINST 1650.1H of Aug 22, 2006, Chapter 2, Section 3, p2-34). It reads in part, “The CR will not be awarded to personnel for Aerial Combat, . . . “
[bio compiled by G47]

Family Members

Gravesite Details Entered the service from New York.

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  • Maintained by: G47
  • Originally Created by: CWGC/ABMC
  • Added: 6 Aug 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 56135310
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for LtJg Robert Scott “Scottie” Whitman, Jr (1 Jan 1916–4 Jun 1942), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56135310, citing Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA ; Maintained by G47 (contributor 47281148) .