By Amanda Kim Stairrett
and Sgt. Maj. Eric Lobsinger
Fort Hood Herald and 4th Infantry Division public affairs
Capt. William Charles Carter II was honored at a memorial ceremony on Thursday at the 4th Infantry Division Memorial Chapel.
He died Friday at the age of 27.
Carter served as the 4th Infantry’s logistics officer for the Special Troops Battalion, and deployed with the division in 2005-2006, where he served as a support platoon leader and executive office for the Special Troops Battalion’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company.
Carter was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia as an infant, and after a bone marrow transplant from his sister, Crystal, when he was 15, he became one of 28 sickle cell anemia survivors in the United States.
He is survived by his wife, Valerie; his parents, William and Norvella Carter; and five sisters, Camille and Victoria Carter, China Jenkins, Crystal Rose and Kelly Jackson.
Carter was a person everyone respected, said Maj. Michael Brough, the Special Troops Battalion’s rear detachment commander.
“Capt. William Carter gave so much to this battalion,” Brough said. “And he gave so much to the individuals here. I look out over the crowd here and I see a lot of old friends here. I can guarantee that if we had all of 4th Infantry Division back here right now instead of where they are deployed in Iraq, this chapel would be filled four times over because William was that loved in this division.
“With Capt. Carter, you can’t help but get an overwhelming sense of joy. I will always remember William. He was always finding the humorous side of things. That’s the way he was.”
Brough shared a story that was emailed to him by 1st Lt. Chang, who the executive officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Service Company, Special Troops Battalion, currently deployed to Iraq, to demonstrate Carter’s sense of humor.
In the e-mail, Chang talked about a time he and Carter took a Humvee from the motorpool at Camp Liberty, which is located in Baghdad, Iraq. While the two were driving, the vehicle suddenly broke down. Chang said the two of them sat there and looked at each other for a couple of minutes and were more embarrassed than anything else that the vehicle they were traveling in had broken down.
“You see,” Brough said. “Carter had a vested interest in the operation of the vehicle since he was the company’s executive officer and thus in charge of vehicle maintenance.”
The story gets better, he added, because after they couldn’t figure out what the problem was with the vehicle. Chang suggested that Carter look at the vehicle. It was then, somewhat to Carter’s horror, that he realized what the true problem was. Suddenly, Carter screeched: “No.” Then he told Chang what the cryptic note on the vehicle dispatch read: Fuel Gauge Inop(erable).
“We had run out of gas,” Chang said. “We laughed so hard. Then we figured that we were going to have to make our way back to the fuel point. We were worried that someone would see us, but we were only a few hundred yards away. We fueled it up and then were on our way. If anyone asked us if that was us on the side of the road, we would deny it and be on our merry way.”
That was the way Carter was, Brough said.
“William showed proper disregard for things that didn’t matter,” he said. “If something didn’t matter, it didn’t matter to him. I endeavor to live my life that way. In the end, William was a fantastic officer; he was a fantastic soldier; he was a fantastic family man. He was a good man – a fantastic friend.”
After Brough, Capt. Laura Cross, who serves as a security officer with the rear detachment, shared a story about Carter’s sense of humor.
She said Carter loved being an Army officer, but he hated morning physical training. The two were scheduled to run in a flak-vest run, where they had to run barrier to barrier, which equates to about a 4.5 mile run.
“You know, with the boss watching, you can’t fall out,” Cross said. “We were running and running, and I’m stressing out because you can’t fall out. After the run, we’re stretching and I see William laughing and joking with some of his friends, and I said ‘Wow, you’re doing really good.’
She said Carter looked at her with the most serious look, then he looked around to see if anyone could hear what he was about to tell her – he wasn’t wearing the plates inside the vest.
“So William,” Cross said. “I’ve kept your secret until now – but now the secret is out.”
Carter’s attitude and love for life was obvious to all, said 1st Sgt. Miguel Carrion, who serves as the Special Troop’s Battalion rear detachment senior noncommissioned officer.
“He taught me a lesson about life,” said Carrion. “And I would like to share with you his celebration of life. This was a remarkable young man. I was truly blessed to share this journey with him.
“I know some times as NCOs, we tell people: this is what right looks like. Well, that was Capt. Carter. He loved his life; he loved his family; and he loved his country.”
Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 501-7547