Carter, Edward Allen, Jr., T/Sgt

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
50 kb
View Time Line
Last Rank
Technical Sergeant
Last Service Branch
Primary Unit
1941-1949, 605, 56th Armored Infantry Battalion
Service Years
1941 - 1949
Foreign Language(s)

Technical Sergeant

Two Service Stripes

Two Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by the Site Administrator to remember Carter, Edward Allen, Jr. (MOH), T/Sgt.
Contact Info
Home Town
Los Angeles, California
Last Address
Los Angeles, California

Date of Passing
Jan 30, 1963
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section 59, Site 451

 Official Badges 

French Fourragere

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Congressional Medal Of Honor SocietyMedal of Honor Recipients
  1945, Congressional Medal Of Honor Society [Verified]
  2015, Medal of Honor Recipients [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. He was the son of a traveling missionary in Shanghai. He attended military school and fought with the Chinese Nationalist Army until his father got him booted by revealing that he had yet to turn 18 years old. After riding a merchant ship to Manila and being rebuffed when he tried to enlist in the United States Army, he joined the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, a group of American volunteers in the Spanish Loyalists' fight against General Francisco Franco's fascist regime. That 2 1/2-year experience exposed him to fierce combat, got him captured and later cast a political cloud over his loyalty to the United States. Many of those in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade turned out to be members of the United States Communist Party, a fact that tarnished the reputations and careers of the hundreds who weren't. It was on his return from Spain, that he joined the United States Army. After basic training he was assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia, and was assigned as a mess sergeant in the 3535 Quartermaster Truck Company. He made sergeant in less than a year, and was made mess sergeant of the officers' club. On November 13, 1944, his truck company arrived in Europe and was assigned to transporting supplies to the fighting forces. For three months straight, he began every day by volunteering for combat. No luck. By late February of 1945, however, things had changed. The Battle of the Bulge had cut through the Army's infantry ranks like a scythe. Reinforcements were needed desperately. Army brass appealed for volunteers among black troops. He was among the first chosen. Like the other 2,600 black volunteers, he was forced to give up his rank and become a private. He stripped off his sergeant stripes and awaited assignment. It didn't take long. His unit was organized into the 1st Provisional Company, assigned to the 12th Armored Division, then assigned again to the 56th Armored Infantry Battalion. It wasn't long until they gave him his staff sergeant stripes back. Then they made him a squad leader of Infantry. The 12th Armored Division was detached to General George Patton's 3rd Army. On March 23, 1945, the 12th Armored was speeding toward the city of Speyer. There was a bridge over the Rhine there, still intact. The 714th Tank Battalion was leading the way, the black volunteers were clinging to the backs of the 714th's rumbling Shermans. Suddenly, German antitank rockets started screaming through the air, and machine-gun fire roared. His squad took cover. He noticed that the rocket fire was coming from a large warehouse ahead of him. He volunteered to lead a three-man patrol to take the warehouse. Clambering over the embankment, he saw one of his men cut down instantly. He ordered the other two to turn back. Before they could reach the embankment, one was killed, the other wounded. He ran on alone. Before he reached the barn surrounding the warehouse, he'd taken five bullets and three pieces of shrapnel. He crawled the last few yards, blood and dirt staining his fatigues. For two hours, he waited. Finally, convinced he was dead, an eight-man patrol came out to make sure. Waiting for his moment, he opened up with his .45-caliber Thompson submachine gun. Within seconds, six Germans were dead. He took the other two prisoner. Using the two as human shields, he marched back across the open field to his company. His commanding officer wanted him evacuated to a medic's tent so his wounds could be treated. He refused. Instead, he climbed the stairs to the observation post and pointed out several German machine-gun nests. Then he turned his prisoners over for interrogation. Utilizing his information, the road to Speyer was cleared, and the city was taken in two days. Less than a month later, he reported back to his commanding officer, ready for duty. A few days after that the commanding officer got a telegram from the Army hospital in the rear, reporting that he was missing, apparently gone AWOL from the hospital. Word was sent that it was ok and that he was back with his unit. He soldiered on to the end of the war in Germany. In July of 1945, his commanding officer signed a recommendation that he be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second-highest decoration for valor in combat. The DSC was approved, one of only nine awarded to black soldiers for heroism during the war. After the war he went back to civilian life but was not happy so he decided that it was time to get back in uniform. The Army snapped him up for a three-year tour at his old rank. Not long after that, he was promoted to sergeant first class. The brass chose Carter and two other senior noncommissioned officers to train and organize a new all-black National Guard engineer unit in Southern California. Almost from the moment he re-enlisted, however, the old questions about his involvment in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade were raised again. Army counterintelligence investigators came to interview Carter. On September 21, 1949, when his enlistment ended, he announced his intention to re-enlist for another tour, however his commanders said no. He would not be allowed to re-enlist, they said, without the specific permission of the adjutant general of the Army. He was stunned. After years of trying to find out what the problem was and running into walls of silence, he lived out the rest of his life on the West coast working at a tire plant. Late in 1962, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died on January 30, 1963, without an inkling that he would become, more than three decades later, California's most decorated black hero of World War II. He was buried in the Sawtelle National Cemetery in Los Angeles. That might have been the end, except for a study undertaken by the United States Army in 1995 to 1996 to determine why no black soldiers in World War II had received a Medal of Honor. The study focused on the nine black soldiers, who had earned the DSC. A special Army Awards Board panel determined that seven of those DSC recipients, himself included, should have their awards upgraded to the highest combat award, the Medal of Honor. President William J. Clinton in 1997 righted some of the wrongs inflicted on him during his lifetime when he posthumously awarded him this country's highest decoration for heroism in combat, the Medal of Honor. His citation reads:When the tank on which he was riding received heavy bazooka and small arms fire, Sergeant Carter voluntarily attempted to lead a three-man group across an open field. Within a short time, two of his men were killed and the third seriously wounded. Continuing on alone, he was wounded five times and finally forced to take cover. As eight enemy riflemen attempted to capture him, Sergeant Carter killed six of them and captured the remaining two. He then crossed the field using as a shield his two prisoners from which he obtained valuable information concerning the disposition of enemy troops. Staff Sergeant Carter's extraordinary heroism was an inspiration to the officers and men of the Seventh Army Infantry Company Number 1 (Provisional) and exemplify the highest traditions of the Armed Forces. Later, General John Keane, the Army's vice chief of staff, presented his family with a set of corrected military records to remove the stain of suspicion that declassified Army intelligence records show had no basis in fact. Keane said he regretted this sad chapter in Army history and apologized. President Clinton later in a personal letter to his wife also apologized. The day after he was awarded the Medal of Honor, this American hero was reinterred in Arlington National Cemetery.
Other Comments:
Not Specified
 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award
Auto Rifle

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
  1941-1949, 605, 56th Armored Infantry Battalion
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1945-1945 World War II
Copyright Inc 2003-2011