George Whiteman was born on October 12, 1919, in Longwood, Missouri. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1939, and was accepted into the Aviation Cadet Program in early 1940. Whiteman was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings at Randolph Field, Texas, on November 15, 1940, and was shipped to Hawaii in early 1941 to serve as a P-40 Warhawk pilot with the 44th Pursuit Squadron of the 18th Pursuit Group at Bellows Field on Oahu. On the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941, Lt Whiteman got to his P-40 and had just lifted off the runway when a Japanese aircraft shot him down. He died in the crash just off the end of the runway. On December 3, 1955, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen Nathan Twining had Sedalia AFB, Missouri, renamed Whiteman AFB in his honor.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Silver Star Medal (Posthumously) to George A. Whiteman, Second Lieutenant (Air Corps), U.S. Army Air Force, for gallantry in action while serving as a Pilot of the 44th Pursuit Squadron, 18th Pursuit Group, at Bellows Field, Island of Oahu, territory of Hawaii, on 7 December 1941. When surprised by a heavy air attack by Japanese Forces on Bellows Field and vicinity and while under fire, Second Lieutenant Whiteman attempted to take off to engage the enemy, and while so doing was shot down in flames by enemy aircraft.