LTC William E. Whitworth, U.S. Army, Retired, 84, of Jefferson City, TN, passed away on September 16, 2022. He was the son of MalChiga and Robbie Whitworth of Nashville, TN. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Sandra Whitworth; son, Bill (Amie) Whitworth, of Morristown, TN; Daughter, Kari (Scott) Whaley, of Knoxville, TN; daughter, Amy Whitworth, of Murfreesboro, TN; grandchildren, Zachary Whitworth, Aubrey Whitworth, Franklyn Whaley, Harris Whaley, Katie Whaley, Sophia Whaley, Graham Whaley; and brother, Robert (Linda) Whitworth of Nashville, TN.
Colonel Whitworth was born August 27, 1938, in Davidson County, Tennessee at the Mud Tavern Community (now known as Donelson, Tennessee). After attending local schools, he graduated from Donelson High School and attended George Peabody College for Teachers. He later completed his undergraduate studies at Middle Tennessee State University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree (with Honors) in History and Earth Science. He also completed the Master of Science degree
(with Honors) in Vocational Counseling and Guidance at Troy State University, Troy, Alabama. In addition, he completed graduate work in Cartography at George Mason University, graduate work in Education at the University of Tennessee, and Doctoral Studies in Administration of Higher Education at East Tennessee State University.
In July of 1955, while in high school, Colonel Whitworth enlisted in the Tennessee National Guard (TN ARNGUS) and served in several positions. He entered active duty with the regular Army in April of 1964 and served until his retirement with over 30 years of service in 1988. Colonel Whitworth commanded numerous Army Aviation units both stateside and in Vietnam. He had the distinction of commanding the first Attack Helicopter unit organized by the Army, the 155th Aviation Company (Attack Helicopter), then located at Fort Ord, California. During his command tenure, Whitworth was instrumental in developing the Army baseline for Night nap-of-the-earth attack helicopter flight training and implementing experimentation with the new
night navigation and laser target detection devices. The aerial TOW missile team he trained was instrumental in stopping communist tanks as they began the invasion of South Vietnam in April of 1972.
Colonel Whitworth’s military education includes the honor of being selected to represent the United States Army as an exchange student at the Air Force Command and Staff College. He also attended the Armor Officer Career Course, the inaugural Army Attack Helicopter Standardization Instructor Pilot and Gunnery Course, Fixed Wing Standardization Instructor Pilot Course, Fixed and Rotary Wing Flight Training, Armor Officer Basic, Infantry Officer Candidate School (OCS), and the Armor Non-Commissioned Officer Academy. During his active service, Colonel Whitworth also attended numerous military and civilian professional development courses in terrain analysis, cartography, topographic mapping, human resource management and numerous combat aviation specialties. He held officer assignments and command from basic company level in the field to senior staff positions at the Department of Defense in Washington, D.C. His service placed him on duty in the Pacific and European Theaters as well as at major military posts on both the east and west coast of the United States and at such mid-western delights as Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
Following his Active Army retirement, Colonel Whitworth renewed his service with the Military Department of Tennessee in April of 1991. He joined the 3rd Infantry Brigade, Tennessee Defense Force (TDF), now known as the all-volunteer Tennessee State Guard (TNSG). He served as the Operations and Training Officer, Chief of Staff, Deputy Commander and Commander for the 3rd Infantry Brigade in Knoxville, TN. Colonel Whitworth, serving with the Tennessee State rank of Major General, commanded the entire Tennessee State Guard from May of 1999 until July of 2003. He most recently served as a Past President of the State Guard Association of the United States (SGAUS) and as a member of the Tennessee State Guard Advisory Group.
A true American patriot, Colonel Whitworth lived a life of service as proven by his many military and civilian awards. Awards include the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star Medal with Combat Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal with 46 Oak Leaf Clusters and two “V” devices for valor, Army Commendation Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal,
Armed Forces Reserve Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam (RVN) Cross of Gallantry with Palm and Gold Star, RVN Campaign Medal, the TN Adjutant General’s Distinguished Patriot Medal, Tennessee National Guard Commendation Medal, Master Army Aviator Badge, Tennessee State Guard Distinguished Service Ribbon, Tennessee State Guard Meritorious Service Ribbon,Tennessee State Guard Officer Achievement Ribbon, Tennessee State Guard Service Ribbon with “25” numeral for 25 years of service, the State Guard Association of the United States Longevity Award and numerous other military unit and civilian awards.
Colonel Whitworth’s civic affiliations included membership in the Masonic Lodge, York Rite and Scottish Rite Degrees, Shrine, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Disabled American Veterans, Association of the United States Army, Army Aviation Association of America, The Retired Officer Association, the Army OCS Alumni Association, Vietnam Helicopter Pilot Association, Vietnam Veterans of America, Tennessee Military Collectors Association, Mobile Riverine Force Association, Society of the Ninth Infantry Division, both the Tennessee and East Tennessee Historical Societies, Jefferson County Auxiliary Radio Emergency
Service (JCARES), and the Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) with the Jefferson County Tennessee Sheriff’s Department.
After retirement from active service, Colonel Whitworth went to work as the Assistant Director of the Job Skills Training Center at Walters State Community College and remained in that position for seven years. In March of 1996 he began serving as an employment and training consultant and policy technical advisor with the University of Tennessee (Social Work Office of Research and Public Service) on assignment to the Tennessee Department of Human Services. There he helped to implement and support program and fiscal operations of the Families First (welfare reform) program across the
state. In 2004 he began conducting contract/program reviews and audits for the TN Department of Human Services, Officer of the Inspector General, until his retirement in June of 2014 with 27 years of state service.
Also lovingly known as “Whit”, Colonel Whitworth dearly loved his family, including his wife, the former Sandra Ellen Cook of Jackson, Georgia; his son, Bill, the owner and operator of a martial arts school; his daughter, Kari, a minister’s wife; and his youngest daughter, Amy, a Pathology Technician. He had a soft heart and adored his seven grandchildren. They are Zachary Ethan Whitworth, Aubrey Paige Whitworth, William Franklyn Whaley, Harris Dane Whaley, Emily Kate Whaley, Sophia Ruth Whaley, and Graham Daniel Whaley.
Colonel Whitworth’s hobbies included Amateur (Ham) Radio (K4PUU), historical cartography and geography, collecting old maps and books, early Tennessee history, family history, and genealogy on his Buchanan and Whitworth ancestors, and his grandkids.
Visitation will be from 12:00 to 2:00 on Saturday, September 24, 2022 at Farrar Funeral Home in Jefferson City. A memorial service, with Masonic and Military Honors, will be held at 2:00 in the Farrar Funeral Home Chapel. Interment with full Military Honors will be held at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia at an undetermined date.