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Edward Allen Carter Jr.
Sergeant First Class Edward A. Carter Jr., Medal of Honor recipient
Born (1916-05-26)May 26, 1916
Died January 30, 1963(1963-01-30) (aged 46)
Place of birth Los Angeles, California
Place of death Los Angeles, California
Allegiance Flag of the United States.svgUnited States of America
Service/branch Flag of the National Revolutionary Army Chinese Nationalist Army
Abraham Lincoln Brigade
United States Army
Years of service 1932,
1937 - 1938,
1941 - 1949
Rank Army-USA-OR-07.svg Sergeant First Class
Unit 56th Armored Infantry Battalion,
12th Armored Division
12th US Armored Division SSI.svg
Battles/wars Second Sino-Japanese War
Spanish Civil War
World War II
Awards Medal of Honor ribbon.svg Medal of Honor
Bronze Star ribbon.svg Bronze Star
Purple Heart BAR.svg Purple Heart (3)
Army Good Conduct ribbon.svg Army Good Conduct Medal
American Defense Service ribbon.svg American Defense Service Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon.svg European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Combat Infantry Badge.svg Combat Infantry Badge
Army P.U.C.
Presidential Unit Citation

Edward Allen Carter Jr. (May 26, 1916 – January 30, 1963)[1][2] was a United States Army staff sergeant who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during March 1945 during World War II. He was one of seven African-American soldiers who were awarded the Medal of Honor on January 13, 1997 by President Bill Clinton.[2]

Early years

Carter was born in Los Angeles, California in 1916. He was the son of missionaries, with a black American father and an East Indian mother, he grew up in India and then moved to Shanghai, China.[1]

Military service

Pre-World War II

While in Shanghai in 1932, Carter ran away from home and joined the Chinese Nationalist Army fighting against invading Japanese during the Shanghai Incident. He eventually had to leave the Nationalist Army because he was only 15. He eventually made his way to Europe and joined the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, which was an American volunteer unit supporting the Spanish Loyalists fighting against General Francisco Franco's regime during the Spanish Civil War.[1]

U.S. Army

Carter had entered the Army on September 26, 1941. As a result of his previous combat experience, he stood out among the other recruits. In less than a year, he had achieved the rank of staff sergeant. He was member of a unique type of organization—the Seventh Army Infantry Company Number 1 (Provisional), 56th Armored Infantry Battalion, 12th Armored Division near Speyer, Germany.[3]

The provisional companies generally were established during, and in the wake of, the Battle of the Bulge, which took place during the winter of 1944–1945. Black support and combat-support soldiers, and some whites, were allowed to volunteer for combat duty and were given training in small-unit tactics. Formed into provisional units, they were used to augment depleted divisions.

On March 23, 1945, Carter, a 28-year-old infantry staff sergeant, heroically acted when the tank on which he was riding was hit by bazooka fire. Dismounted, Carter led three soldiers across an open field. In the process, two of the men were killed and the other seriously wounded.

Carter continued alone and was wounded five times before being forced to take cover.

Eight German soldiers tried to capture him, but he killed six and captured the remaining two. He used the two captured Germans as a shield from enemy fire as he recrossed the field. His prisoners provided valuable information on enemy-troop disposition for his unit. For this he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.[3]

Carter was refused re-enlistment in Army in 1949 because of unfounded allegations that, as a result of his affiliation with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and a Welcome Home Joe Dinner, he had communist contacts and allegiances.[2] He died of lung cancer on January 30, 1963, in the UCLA Medical Center and was buried in the Sawtelle National Cemetery in Los Angeles, California. He was re-buried at Arlington National Cemetery in 1997.[4]

Awards and honors

Awards and decorations

Carter has been awarded the following: Medal of Honor (as of 1999); Bronze Star; Purple Heart; Army Good Conduct Medal; American Defense Service Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; Combat Infantryman Badge.

Combat Infantry Badge.svg
A light blue ribbon with five white five pointed stars
Combat Infantry Badge
Medal of Honor
Bronze Star Purple Heart Army Good Conduct Medal
American Defense Service Medal European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Medal World War II Victory Medal

Medal of Honor citation

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to


For service as set forth in the following CITATION:[5]

For extraordinary heroism in action on 23 March 1945, near Speyer, Germany. 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.[4]


MV SSG Edward A. Carter Jr. (T-AK 4544), named in honor of the Medal of Honor recipient, is a container ship in the United States Navy Military Sealift Command, one of 36 ships that are a part of the Prepositioning Program.[6]

See also



This article contains text in the public domain from the United States Army.

External links

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