By Leah Sander
WARSAW — A Warsaw man who served in both the U.S. Army and Indiana Air National Guard is the August Kosciusko County Veteran of the Month.
James Whitaker was honored at the Kosciusko County Commissioners’ meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 1, in the Kosciusko County Courthouse’s Old Courtroom. Kosciusko County Veteran Service Officer Darryl McDowell presented Whitaker with a certificate and read biographical information on him, including the following.
On Aug. 7, 1944, Whitaker was born to Albert and Cynthia Whitaker in North Manchester. He was a member of the Silver Lake High School Class of 1964, with his brother Sam noting that Whitaker “excelled” in basketball.
In December 1964, Whitaker joined the U.S. Army. He did his basic training at Fort Knox in Kentucky, with his advanced individual training at Fort Dix, New Jersey.
From April 1965 to July 1966, Whitaker was stationed in Korea near the Demilitarized Zone. Afterward, he was sent to the home of the United States Army Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. There, Whitaker arranged bus transportation for Academy Army Cadet events located in the lower 48 states.
In December 1967, he was honorably discharged, with the rank of sergeant/E-5.
Whitaker would serve in the military again when he entered the Indiana Air National Guard in 1979. He was deployed to Kuwait during the Gulf War.
Whitaker retired from the Air National Guard in 2003, having attained the enlisted rank of master sergeant/E-7 and a combined 24 years of military service.
In his civilian life, Whitaker worked as a mechanic for Uniroyal. He then was employed by WJ Carey Construction Co. for five years. In 1976, he started his own construction company, D and J Construction, retiring in 2003.
Whitaker and his wife Barbara spend their winter months in Florida.
“I’m not very good at speaking, but … thank you for everything,” said Whitaker after he received his certificate.