PFC Gilbert Henry Whisler

Unknown Sailor

PFC Gilbert Henry Whisler

Gilbert Henry Whisler was born May 22, 1911 in Davis County, Iowa about 85 miles southeast of Des Moines. His father, James T. Whisler, ran a blacksmith shop and his mother, Edith Cox Whisler, was a homemaker.

Gilbert, who was known as Bill, graduated in 1931 from nearby Bloomfield High School, where he sang and played sports. He worked for several years at Smock grocery. A brief 1939 news story said he was a meat cutter and had severely sliced the fingers on his right hand. Mr. Whistler was a charter member of the local Chamber of Commerce in Bloomington, a town of about 2,700.

He enlisted in the Marines on Sept. 11, 1940 and was a private first class when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

A memorial service honored him in early 1942 at Bloomfield Christian Church with pastors from the Methodist and Baptist churches also taking part. The local Veterans of Foreign Wars post was named in Mr. Whisler’s honor in 1946. American Legion Post 78 is named in his honor and that of the first Davis County man killed in World War I.

Mr. Whisler’s body was identified on Dec. 23 and he is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at the Punchbowl in Honolulu.

He had four full or half siblings. At least one, Edgar, served in the Army during World War I.


Sources: the Ottumwa (Iowa) Daily Courier; the Des Moines (Iowa) Register; the Salt Lake City (Utah) Tribune; Census; grave marker; application for military headstone or marker; Census. Marine photograph. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

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