NORMAN — James L. Whited was born in Michigan on Dec. 2, 1923, to Paul M. and Cora Whited and moved to Norman when James was an infant. He attended elementary and high-school in Norman and joined the Army on Dec. 17, 1941.
He served in World War II with the 308th Bombardment Group whose missions served to interrupt Japanese supply shipments in the South China Sea area including the Gulf of Tonkin (Vietnam). He was discharged from the U.S. Army in Sept., 1945, and re-enlisted as a Tech/Sgt. In the USAF Reserve on Jan. 10, 1948. James graduated from Spartan School of Aviation in Tulsa and received his pilotslicense for commercial, single-engine and multi-engine aircraft that same year. He also received his FCC license for Aircraft Radiotelephone Operator . His military academic achievements were numerous and solidly equipped him for his many tours of duty.
He was commissioned as an officer in 1951, promoted to Captain in September, 1956 and quickly rose through the ranks, receiving his promotion to Major in December, 1962. Major Whited received numerous awards and commendation medals including : Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Air Medal with three Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three Bronze Service Stars, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal with Germany Clasp, Vietnam Service Medal with one Bronze Service Star, Korea Defense Service Medal, Valorous Unit Award, Expert Marksmanship Badge with Carbine and Submachine Gun, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with “60” Device, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Device and Republic of Vietnam National Order Medal.
Major James L. Whited was flying a reconnaissance mission over enemy territory in Viet Nam on November 19, 1966 when his Mohawk aircraft crashed. He was listed Missingin Action on Nov. 21, 1966 but a few days later, his family was notified that he had been killed in action. A memorial service was held on Dec. 31, 1966 at Primrose Funeral Service in Norman.
Recovery of Major Whited, due to the diligent efforts of the U.S. Army, has occurred after forty-six years and he is on his way back to Norman to be laid to rest in his home-town. Major Whited’sdaughter, Carolyn states: “I will be eternally grateful to the efforts of the military for this gift of closure and I would like for all families who have not had their loved one returned to know that the caring individuals in our military service are doing all they can do to bring them home to you.”
James was preceded in death by his Father, Paul Morgan Whited and since Major Whited’sdeath in 1966, he has been joined by his Mother, Cora Whited and three sisters: Mrs. Helen Miller of Norman, Mrs. Pauline Ballard and Mrs. Ledelle Webster of AZ., ; niece Debra Miller Daniel and nephew Michael Miller.
He is survived by his wife Annie L. Whited of Norman, son, James P. Whited and wife, Barbara of St. Leonard, MD.; daughter, Carolyn A. Willigeand husband Ben of Norman. He is also survived by Grandsons: Jason Willige, Justin Willige, Daniel Whited and James P. Whited, Jr.; four great grand-children: Trey Willige, Tyler Willige, Alayna Whited and Lance Whited.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Primrose Funeral Service in Norman and graveside services with full military honors have been scheduled for Friday, Nov. 2, 2012 at 10:30 a.m. at Sunset Memorial Park in Norman.