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Heroes

June 7, 2012

68 years ago SSgt M.E. Carter was celebrating his 2nd wedding anniversary. Well celebrating is probably a bit of an overstatement, his wife was in their house in North East Texas tending to their not quite 1 year old son and her younger sisters, while SSgt Carter was sitting in an LST off the coast of Normandy France in his Stuart light tank waiting. As part of the 2nd Infantry Division’s  2nd Reconnaissance troop, mechanized SSGT Carter was part of the lead elements of a second wave of men set to crash into Omaha beach when (in the eyes of the Army that day there was very little chance of “If”) the first wave was thrown off the beach or rendered combat ineffective. And like many of the men in his unit SSgt Carter had volunteered.  Their job was going to be to force the landing no matter what. So SSgt Carter sat on his ship and watched and waited for his turn to throw himself and the men of his unit into the maw of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall to secure a foothold for the allies to begin the liberation of Europe from the darkness of Nazi occupation. In the clairvoyance of history books we know that SSgt Carter’s turn on the bloody beaches would not come, the first wave broke the German lines and secured the landings. The 2nd ID would land on Omaha D-Day + 1 and would fight across France, Belgium and Germany until V-E day in May 1945. SSgt Carter served with them every step of the way from Omaha to the Battle of the bulge, on across the Rhine and through to Czechoslovakia; scouting behind enemy lines, spotting for artillery, engaging enemy tanks and engaging in brutal hand to hand combat, for his gallantry he earned a Bronze Star, a Silver Star and a purple heart.  SSgt Carter survived the war, one of only 29 men of the 145 in his unit waiting there in the waters off Omaha to do so.

After a brief stint as a civilian in 1950 Mr. Carter once again became SSgt Carter and volunteered for the Army again, and headed to Korea. Again in the 2nd ID SSgt Carter was part of the elements of the 8th Army that were cut off and surrounded in the little known Battle of the Ch’ongch’on River.  And was wounded severely at the beginning of the 2nd ID’s breakout push through the Kunu-ri—Anju road. He was evacuated via ambulance and managed to get on the last US train out of Pyongyang. Across World War 2 and Korea, M. E. Carter earned through blood, sweat and tears 22 battle stars and numerous other awards.  He recovered fully from his wounds and retired from the army in the 60s and went on to have a successful career across various professions, always excelling at whatever he put his mind to. He’s retired now and lives with his wife of 70 years in a cozy house on a few acres in the country and enjoys his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And is still prone to get excited when he watches the news of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, say “a few years ago, I’d show those guys how to do it” and laugh!

Being able to call Mr. Carter a close friend is one of my life’s greatest honors and I was privileged to be able to spend a few hours with him today, D-day.   He is one of my two living heroes and I thank God for his company and friendship every time I think of him.

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sheryl Muller permalink
    June 7, 2012 3:35 pm

    So well stated. Thank you for honoring such a great and unsung hero!!

  2. Anonymous permalink
    June 8, 2012 7:18 pm

    It was such an honor to meet SSgt Carter – thanks so much for sharing more of his story!

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