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Howard Clayton Whittaker
Cullum # 20565
1 May 2011
Howard Clayton Whittaker was born in Baltimore, Maryland to Howard and Victoria Whittaker and lived there until about a year before WWII when his father was called to active duty in the Army as a (probably about the oldest) 2d lieutenant of Ordnance. The family moved a half dozen times during the early war years, ending up in his Mother's hometown in Pennsylvania while his father was serving in the far east.
After the war ended, his father was offered and accepted a regular Army commission and the family moved several more times until Howard was selected as First Alternate for appointment to West Point by Congressman James F. Lind of Pennsylvania. When the Principal Appointee declined his appointment, Howard joined the entering class of 1955.
After graduation he attended the basic Infantry course, along with Airborne and Ranger training, and was assigned to the 2D Infantry Division at Ft. Lewis. When he reported for duty, he was surprised to find that his regiment was being moved to Alaska! So began three years of duty in the frozen North! While there he got married, became a father, transferred to Ordnance, got a specialty in nuclear weapons and over the next 10 years stayed in that field, except for command assignments in Korea and Germany and a year in Vietnam.
By then he had three children who were growing older and needed some stability in their lives. After attending the Army War College he was assigned to Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, was selected by the Army to be an Air Defense weapons system project manager and remained there for six years. He then was fortunate enough to be selected for promotion to general officer, with initial assignment as DCG of the Armament R&D command, and later as CG of the Army's Chemical R&D command. Concurrent with another promotion, he moved to Washington where he served in the Army Material command and from which he retired in 1985.
His kids were out of college, he had divorced and remarried and was ready for something different! He joined a large systems engineering company in Alabama as a senior manager, remaining for 11 years, eventually directing the defense programs office and serving on the board of directors of a subsidiary. He and his wife Leanne retired again and moved to Prescott, Arizona somewhat near her family.
When they retired, Howard's kids were scattered all over the South and Leanne's son was in San Diego. There was no assurance where the kids would settle, which led Howard and Leanne, in part, to select the high desert of Arizona for permanent retirement.
As it turned out, Leanne's son, Dan and family remained in San Diego, where both teach school and raise a son. Howard's kids all ended up in the Huntsville area where his oldest son, Howard, manages a IM contract in support of the Army, Howard's daughter Tracey raises three sons, is married to an environmental engineer and is a representative for a custom leather furniture company. Tom, the youngest son, lives with his wife and daughter in Chattanooga,TN ,and is a program manager for IBM in regulatory matters. The high point of the year with Howard's kids and grandkids is when the family gathers near St.Petersburg for Thanksgiving week and celebrates Whittaker Christmas. Howard and Leanne see Dan and his family more often because they are within driving distance.
After settling in Prescott Howard got very involved with United Way, serving on the board and as board president. After five years with UW, He decided to do something more hands on. So for the last seven years, he has been a driver for Meals on Wheels , which gives him great pleasure.