George Allison Whiteman, the eldest of 10 children of John and Earlie Whiteman, was born on Oct. 12, 1919, at the Wilkerson farm near Longwood, in Pettis County, Mo. He graduated from Smith-Cotton High School in Sedalia and attended the Rolla School of Mines, Mo. before enlisting in the service in 1939.
In the spring of 1940, Whiteman received orders to report to Randolph Field, Texas, for training as an aviator. On Nov. 15, 1940, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps and volunteered for duty in Hawaii early the following year.
As the sun rose over Oahu on the morning of Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor began. Lieutenant Whiteman went to his P-40B Warhawk aircraft at Bellows Field and had just lifted off the runway when a burst of enemy gunfire hit his cockpit, wounding him and throwing the plane out of control. The plane crashed and burned just off the end of the runway. Lieutenant Whiteman died from his injuries.
The news of Lieutenant Whiteman's death reached his family at 10:13 p.m. the same day. In an interview with the Sedalia Democrat that night, his mother said: "It's hard to believe. It might have happened anytime, anywhere. We've got to sacrifice loved ones if we want to win this war." She gave the reporter a photograph of her son sitting in an aircraft with the inscription "Lucky, lucky me."
Whiteman was one of the first Airmen killed during the assault which marked the United States entry into World War II. For his gallantry that day, Lieutenant Whiteman was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, the Purple Heart, the American Defense Medal with a Foreign Service clasp, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign medal with one bronze star, and the World War II Victory Medal.
Another honor bestowed on Lieutenant Whiteman came 14 years after his death. On Aug. 24, 1955, Gen. Nathan F. Twining, Air Force chief of staff, informed Whiteman's mother that the recently reopened Sedalia Air Force Base would be renamed Whiteman Air Force Base in tribute to her son. The dedication and renaming ceremony took place on Dec. 3, 1955
Susan Elaine Whiteman Berry Cramer
Violet Earlie Whiteman Williams
John Casey Whiteman
Paul Alpha Whiteman
Lee Sanders Whiteman
Franklin Eugene Whiteman
Carl Otto Whiteman
Marshall Earl Whiteman
Robert Samuel Whiteman
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