GRIMES, IA, US
CPT, CO C, 1ST BN, 508TH INFANTRY REGIMENT, 4 BCT, FORT BRAGG, NC
06/16/2010, VICINITY OF FOB SWEENY, AFGHANISTAN
Captain Daniel P. Whitten, was killed of wounds suffered during an attack by enemy forces on February. 2, 2010 in Zabul province, Afghanistan while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom. Daniel dedicated his career to selfless service on the behalf of the United States.
Captain Whitten is survived by his wife, Starr Whitten of Fayetteville, NC, his mother, Jill Whitten of Grimes, IA, his father and stepmother, Dan and Penny Whitten of Clearwater, FL, his sister, U.S. Army CPT Sarah Whitten Frederickson currently deployed to Afghanistan, his grandparents, Ronald and Carol Trotter of Des Moines, IA, and many other family members and friends who will always love him.
Daniel will be remembered as a devoted husband, loving son, wonderful brother, fun-loving friend, and a courageous leader to his Soldiers. He shared a happy married life with his beloved Starr. Daniel was a great fan of both the Fayetteville Swamp Dogs and Chicago Cubs. Daniel and Starr enjoyed traveling together including trips to Hawaii, St. Thomas, Aruba, Disney World, Spain, and the Iowa State Fair. Daniel was also crazy about his dogs, Copper and Nilla.
Daniel graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point in 2004. Deployments include: 2005-06 in Iraq, 2007-2008 Afghanistan, and he returned again to Afghanistan in August 2009, as the Commanding Officer of C Company, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C..
Daniel’s awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal with two Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal. Daniel’s memorial service was held at the Cadet Chapel at the United States Military Academy on February 12, 2010. Eulogies were given by Starr Whitten, CPT Michael Haith, CPT Ben Raphael (on behalf of his brother CPT Justin Raphael), CPT Robert Ashley, CPT Jimm Spannagel, Greg Frederickson (on behalf of Dan Whitten, father), and General Joseph Votel. Internment followed at the West Point Cemetery.
Memories from the men Dan served with:
Captain Whitten was my Platoon Leader while in Iraq. When you have a group of men only 35 or so deep, you grow to know everyone so well. I really think that he was a brave man. I know we all got scared but he never showed it. People would always get us confused because we looked similar and were about the same height. People were always calling me sir, or saluting, until they say it was me just a private at the time. I knew him off the battle field, playing poker with us, or at platoon parties. Our platoon was different from the rest of the battalion. We won every event from gunner’s courses, long marches with stress shoots, platoon mock take downs, you name it. I received numerous awards and coins just because our platoon was that good. It was men like Dan that made us work hard, and be prepared. He wanted us all to come back from Iraq.
As an enlisted man you hope for a good Platoon leader, and he was one. I am proud to have served side by side with him. He was a guy with a permanent smile on his face, and could always laugh with you. When I was a private we had to take some hummvees to Al Asad, which was a 3 day drive from Kuwait. I was the turret gunner and he was the truck commander so we had the headsets on, and we talked the whole way. I forgot all about where we were, he was a fun guy to talk with and made me feel like everything was going to be fine. I got so comfortable on that trip I realized that I had been calling him “dude” for an hour or so. I corrected myself; he didn’t say anything while I was calling an officer “dude”. I think at that moment he knew it was just two brothers in arms. That’s the way I’ll always remember him, smiling.
This is Sergeant Joseph Lim. I arrived to the Unit (we were still 3-504 PIR then) just a short while after Captain Whitten received his first Platoon in C CO. He was one of the first men I had the chance, privilege really, to have a long conversation with. I felt much more at ease and assured after talking with him. For a long time 1-Charlie had the reputation of being the best platoon in the Battalion and I know that it was in no small part due to his efforts.
Captain Daniel P. Whitten lived a life that will forever remain an inspiration to me to the rest of my time on this earth. I have the honor to have called him friend. In the time that I have known Dan, there has been no finer example of the virtues of Courage, Honor, Selfless Service, and compassion. He was the kind of man that would give you the shirt of his own back, or would go without just to make sure his friends were taken care of. He was truly the best of our generation and left his mark on this world.