Thanks for adding the images to his grave in Lincoln Memorial Park cemetery, Portland, OR.
You know how he died --- a couple of soldiers were asked to set up a heavy machine gun and load it with one ground. They did get one set-up. They were normally kept in the supply room and it was changing officer in charge.
Some how this loaded machine gun got fired by another person who didn't check to see if it was loaded. That single cartridge when fired killed SSGT William Hughes Whitfield. It hit him full in the chest. He was dead.
This unit was building the Alaskan Highway in eight months, working 24 hours every day. The Japanese had already attacked and captured apart of the Aleutian Islands. Many people were afraid they would capture Alaska. There was nothing to stop them. Shipping could easily be blockaded.
They simply had to have a road. It was an emergency effort. Where there had been no trails they built a road. It still wasn't passable part of the year by car or light truck. But, the U.S. Army had real trucks that could get through.