|Born:||September 30, 1937|
|Height||6 ft 2 in (188 cm)|
|Weight||210 lb (95 kg)|
|High school||Springfield High School|
|Honors||1959 consensus All-American|
|Service/||United States Army|
|Commands held||10th Mountain Division|
|Awards|| Distinguished Service Cross |
Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Army Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit
William Stanley Carpenter Jr. (born September 30, 1937) is a retired American military officer and former college football player. While playing college football at the United States Military Academy, he gained national prominence as the "Lonesome End" of the Army football team. During his military service in the Vietnam War, he again achieved fame when he saved his company by directing airstrikes on his own position. For the action, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
Carpenter was born in Springfield, Pennsylvania, on September 30, 1937 to William Stanley Carpenter, Sr. (1907–1945) and Helen Carpenter (née Sparks). Private First Class Carpenter, Sr. served in the United States Army as an ammunition bearer in the 393rd Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division and was killed in action in the Ruhr Pocket. He is interred in Margraten, Netherlands, at the Netherlands American Cemetery. Helen remarried and relocated the family to the Philadelphia area.
Carpenter was a 1955 graduate of Springfield High School, Springfield, Pennsylvaniaand later attended the Manlius School (now Manlius Pebble Hill School) in Manlius, New York.
Carpenter married Toni M. Vigliotti in 1961 and had three children: William S. Carpenter III (1962), Kenneth Carpenter (1964), and Stephen Carpenter (1965).
While attending the United States Military Academy at West Point, Carpenter played as a split end on the football team, alongside Heisman Trophy-winning halfback and fellow combat infantryman Pete Dawkins. Carpenter earned the nickname the "Lonesome End" as a result of the team's tactic of aligning him near the far sideline and leaving him outside of huddles.He played on the undefeated 1958 West Point team, and in 1959, while team captain, was named an All-American. Legendary Army head coach Earl Blaik, who spent twenty years on the Army coaching staff, called Carpenter "the greatest end I ever coached at West Point."
In 1982, Carpenter was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Upon graduation, Carpenter was commissioned as an infantry officer and went on to serve at least two tours in Vietnam. In 1964, he was an adviser assigned to an airborne brigade of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. That unit came under heavy enemy fire immediately after being inserted by helicopter into a sugar cane field. Bill Carpenter was wounded by a gunshot through the arm while changing rifle magazines. His radio set was hit with another bullet and he was spun around and knocked to the ground. He proceeded to eliminate the source of the enemy fire, by knocking out a bunker with a hand grenade. For his actions he was awarded the Silver Star, the U.S. Army's third highest award for valor in combat.
In 1966, Captain Carpenter's C Company, 2/502nd Parachute Infantry of the 101st Airborne Division took part in Operation Hawthorne, fighting North Vietnamese forces near Dak To on the Kontum plateau in the Central Highlands. As it maneuvered in an attempt to relieve Major David Hackworth's engaged 1/327th Infantry, C Company became isolated and in danger of being overrun. As the situation grew desperate, Carpenter radioed the battalion air traffic controller for a napalm airstrike on his own position: "We're overrun, they're right in among us. I need an air strike on my position."Several of his soldiers were wounded by the close air support, but it blunted the enemy attack and prevented the envelopment of his company. C Company was then able to consolidate and eventually break out. For his actions, he was again awarded the Silver Star, which was later upgraded to the U.S. Army's second highest wartime medal, the Distinguished Service Cross and earned the nickname, "Napalm Bill" Carpenter.
Carpenter committed another act of heroism on February 1, 1967, at Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Saigon when he carried an injured man to safety after a plane crash landed. After a C-123 Provider military transport aircraft made a belly landing on the runway, Captain Carpenter "hoisted the injured man onto his shoulders and scampered from the gasoline-soaked plane."
In 1984, Carpenter went on to take command of the newly activated 10th Mountain Division and, finally, the Combined Field Army in Korea.He eventually retired as a lieutenant general and settled in Montana.
Charles Joseph Watters was a chaplain (major) in the United States Army and Roman Catholic priest. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery exhibited while rescuing wounded men in the Vietnam War's Battle of Dak To.
The battle of Dak To in Vietnam was a series of major engagements of the Vietnam War that took place between 3 and 23 November 1967, in Kon Tum Province, in the Central Highlands of the Republic of Vietnam. The action at Đắk Tô was one of a series of People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) offensive initiatives that began during the second half of the year. PAVN attacks at Lộc Ninh, Song Be and at Con Thien and Khe Sanh,, were other actions which, combined with Đắk Tô, became known as "the border battles". The post hoc purported objective of the PAVN forces was to distract American and South Vietnamese forces away from cities towards the borders in preparation for the Tet Offensive.
The Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) is the United States Army's second highest military decoration for soldiers who display extraordinary heroism in combat with an armed enemy force. Actions that merit the Distinguished Service Cross must be of such a high degree that they are above those required for all other U.S. combat decorations, but which do not meet the criteria for the Medal of Honor. The Army Distinguished Service Cross is equivalent to the Navy and Marine Corps' Navy Cross, the Air Force and Space Force's Air Force Cross, and the Coast Guard Cross. Prior to the creation of the Air Force Cross in 1960, airmen were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
Carlos James Lozada was a member of the United States Army who was one of five Puerto Ricans who received the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War.
Captain Eurípides Rubio was a United States Army officer and one of nine Puerto Ricans who were posthumously awarded the United States' highest military decoration for valor, the Medal of Honor, for actions on November 8, 1966, during the Vietnam War. Rubio was a member of the United States Army, Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, Republic of Vietnam.
Paul Ray Smith was a United States Army soldier who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. While serving with B Company, 11th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division in Baghdad, his team was attacked by a group of Iraqi insurgents and after a firefight he was killed by Iraqi fire. For his actions during this battle he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Two years later, the medal, along with the newly approved Medal of Honor flag, were presented to his family on behalf of him; specifically to his eleven-year-old son David, at a White House ceremony by President George W. Bush.
David A. Christian is an American who served in the United States Army as a sergeant, lieutenant, and captain during the Vietnam War. While serving as a lieutenant in South Vietnam, he was wounded in action seven times and awarded several medals including the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism. He is best known for his veterans' advocacy efforts.
Ola Lee Mize was a United States Army officer and a recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Korean War.
Gary Lee Littrell is a retired United States Army command sergeant major who, while serving as an adviser to Army of the Republic of Vietnam's Ranger units during the Vietnam War, acted with extraordinary courage during a four-day siege on his battalion, for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
John Andrew Barnes III was a soldier of the United States Army during the Vietnam War. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Dak To.
David Francis Winder was a United States Army soldier and a posthumous recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in the Vietnam War.
Frank Aloysious Herda is a former United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in the Vietnam War.
John Franklin "Jack" Forrest was a career officer in the United States Army and a combat commander during the Korean War and Vietnam War.
Commencing with World War I, Puerto Ricans and people of Puerto Rican descent have participated as members of the United States Armed Forces in every conflict in which the United States has been involved. Accordingly, thousands of Puerto Ricans served in the Armed Forces of the United States during the Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War. Hundreds of them died, either killed in action (KIA) or while prisoners of war (POW). The Vietnam War started as a Cold War, and escalated into a military conflict that spread to Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1959 to April 30, 1975.
The Battle of Hill 488 was a military engagement of the Vietnam War that took place on the night of 15–16 June 1966. A small United States Marine Corps (USMC) reconnaissance platoon inflicted large casualties on regular People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) and Viet Cong (VC) fighters before withdrawing with only a few dead.
Operation Hawthorne took place near the village of Toumorong, Kon Tum Province, South Vietnam from 2 to 21 June 1966.
Leslie Halasz Sabo Jr. was a soldier in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. He received the highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during the Cambodian Campaign in 1970.
Captain Conrado Dumlao Yap was a Philippine Army officer and a recipient the Philippines' highest military award for courage, the Medal of Valor. Yap was one of the 1,367 Filipino troops comprising the 10th Battalion Combat Team of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK), one of the five Philippine Army Battalion Combat Team's contingent of United Nations Command forces that fought in the Korean War (1950–1953).
Operation MacArthur was a United States Army military operation in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam from 12 October 1967 to 31 January 1969. The early phases of the operation encompassed the Battle of Dak To from 3 to 23 November 1967.