MORRISON – Built and commissioned in 1944, the USS Whiteside carried men during World War II and the Korean War. Next week, the final flag to fly on the vessel is being brought home to the ship’s namesake: Whiteside County.
The man bringing that flag is Arlo Ericson, who served on the ship for 16 months. He’s making the drive all the way from his town of St. Joseph, Missouri – a town that straddles the Missouri River, just north of Kansas City – to present the county with the flag, as well as other memorabilia from the ship.
There will be a reception for Ericson before Tuesday night’s Whiteside County Board meeting in Morrison, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Morrison community room at the library, with the board meeting to follow in its usual place at 6:30 p.m.
Ericson, 86, is making the trip with his wife. He’s been putting together reunions for the men who served on the Whiteside for about 10 years now, and part of that duty also means keeping the flag that was flying on the ship before it was decommissioned in 1958.
Originally, the flag was given to the man who had served on the ship for the longest amount of time, but since he passed away, it’s been passed along.
“I’m gonna bring the flag up, and I’ve got some pictures,” Ericson said during an interview from his home in Missouri. “I think it should all be in Whiteside. That’s where it belongs.”
Reception: 4 to 6 p.m. in the Morrison community room at the Odell Public Library
County Board meeting: 6:30 p.m. in the Whiteside County Law Enforcement Center