THOMAS L. CARTER, CAPT, USMC

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Thomas Carter '62

Date of birth: January 1, 1941

Date of death: November 10, 1968

Age: 27

Lucky Bag

From the 1962 Lucky Bag:


Obituary

1962 Carter 1.jpg

From the February 1969 issue of SHIPMATE:

Capt. Thomas L . Carter, USMC, died 10 Nov. as a result of wounds sustained during a hostile rocket attack on an artillery outpost, where he was commanding Battery C, First Battalion, Twelfth Marines, Third Marine Division. Services with full military honor were held at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Chapel in San Diego, Calif., followed by interment in the Ft. Rosecrans Military Cemetery.

Capt. Carter, born in Galveston, Texas, was valedictorian of his class at Torrance High School, and entered the Naval Academy with the class of 1962. While attending the Academy, he participated in cross-country, wrestling, and reached the finals of the 155-boxing tournament. He made the Superintendent's List consistently, and was the Third Battalion commander and Brigade administrative officer in his first class year. He graduated fifth in his class scholastically, and was commissioned in the Marine Corps. Capt. Carter attended Basic School, Quantico, and Artillery School, Ft. Sill. He served with the Mortar Battery 2/11, First Marine Divisino at Camp Pendleton, and was assigned to Headquarters, Air Fleet Marine Force Pacific at El Toro and Camp Holland M. Smith, Oahu. He received a Master's degree in physics from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey before reporting to 105mm howitzer battery, Vietnam in August 1968. Capt. Carter was awarded the Purple Heart, Vietnam Service Medal, and National Defense Medal, among others.

He is survived by his widow Doris, three daughters Kristin Ann, Kimberly Susan, and Kerry Lee, his parents; and two sisters.

1962 Carter 2.jpg

Remembrances

From Wall of Faces:

During Tom's years at Annapolis and then Quantico, he was a good friend. We had a mutual friend living in DC, Miss Dani Demetri from whom regrettably I have lost contact along with Tom about 1962. He was one of the finest people I had ever known. His death was a beautiful sacrifice although a real loss to mankind. He would have gone on to do great things. Shortly after I learned of his death, I wrote my first "poem" in 2009 on Memorial Day.

I am the sand by the sea
Living blood falls on me
Soul comprehends soul
And eternity

I am the sand of the sea
Multitudes am I
Never alone
Warm tears wash over me

Hope died in youth
Blue eyed warrior he
Caught the shrapnel
Feeling alone

Eyes toward heaven
Last thoughts of family
Knowledge that someday
Yes, someday...

Close drew an angel,
love on his face
Like two birds they flew away
To God’s embrace

I am the sand by the sea
Living blood falls on me
Soul comprehends soul
And eternity LIZ WALTZ BOARDMAN, 10/24/13

Yesterday marked the 41st anniversary of Tom's death. His grandchildren are thriving: Sofie and Nicholas in middle school, Joshua in 5th grade, Anna in lst and Joey in preschool. Tom would be proud. DORIS ALVAREZ, DALVAREZ1@COX.NET, 11/11/09

I'm thinking of Tom Carter today, a brother-in-law and a friend, a kind and gentle man. We shared our love of music and for family together.He left behind a beautiful legacy in his children, Kristy, Kimmy, and Kerry. We will always remember him. GEORGE ROMERO, GIROMERO@COMCAST.NET, 11/15/08

Two posts by Kimmy Carter Romine, kcromine@stanfordalumni.org, on 11/11/08 with pictures of his grandchildren Joshua Christopher Romine (9) and Nicholas Carter Romine (12).

Today, it will be 40 years since Tom's death. He died on the Marine Corp birthday and twelve days before his daughter Kerry was born. He will never be forgotten as he lives in his 3 children-Kristy, Kimberly and Kerry and and 5 grandchildren-Nicholas,Sofie,Joshua, Anna and Joey. He would be very proud of his legacies. DORIS ALVAREZ, DALVAREZ1@COX.NET, 11/11/08

Tom was a scholar and athlete. The enclosed picture is of the Torrance High School Scholarship Society life members in 1958, and of the THS runners who won the Southern California small schools cross country championship in 1957. You will find Tom in both. DICK RYON, 6/24/03

1962 Carter 3.jpg

June, 2003 Another Memorial Day has come and gone. As has become my custom, I attended services in a graveyard in Livermore where I live. I always remember Tom, but especially on this day. Where have all the flowers gone? The cycle of seasons and remembrance continues. May life be good for all of Tom's family and all those who never had the priviledge to know him.
A friend, Dick Ryon



May 28 Memorial Day 2001
I learned about the Virtual Wall through a newspaper story and immediately had to look up my good friend Tom Carter. It was through the website that I was able make contact with his daughter Kimberly Carter Romine. She kindly told me of herself and her family following Tom's death. I wrote back, telling the anecdotes below. Perhaps others will be interested in knowing another's remembrances of this fine man and will likewise share some stories.


Dear Kimberly,
I am so happy that you wrote with so much news about your family. I know a little of it, but nothing after about 1974.

A few short stories. Your Dad and I connected both through athletics (running track and cross-country) and our mutual interest in the sciences. It was your Dad who first taught me about logarithms and exponentials and how a slide rule works, long before any of us had that sort of thing in a formal class. How he picked it up I don't know.

A funny story concerns our joining the Varsity Club. The club was supposed to be open to all varsity athletes, but was really a football club. It was therefore with some scorn that we were greeted as applicants. There were a number of initiation rites we had to pass, like detailing officers' cars and eating awful food. They devised a hazing affair that was something like Brar' Rabbit in the Briar Patch. We were blindfolded (with Kotex) and driven in the dark to the far reaches of the Palos Verdes Peninsula and dumped. At that time, most of the area was still in farms and only sparsely populated. Once figuring out where we were, it was no problem. We were runners, so it was just a nice jog home.

I had a part time job cooking in a restaurant and I got your Dad a job as a busboy. It was supposed to be a union shop, but the steward only came around occasionally to round up new members. He was meeting with the manager one afternoon, and Tom dove under a table in the darkened dining room that had a long tablecloth that hid him pretty well. The two then sat down nearby for a leisurely meal and Tom was stuck for the duration.

After graduation and before we all headed off to college, Ken Bartholic, your Dad, and I took off for a camping trip to Yosemite. Passing through the hot San Joaquin Valley, we stopped at an irrigation canal for a swim. All three of us dove in, and only then realized how fast the current was and how steep the concrete walls were. We were rapidly swept down-stream with increasing dread. We spied a joint in the concrete and swam for it, managing to get a finger hold and climb out. I learned later that several people had drowned there; the canal went underground a short distance away.

Of course, all the camp grounds in Yosemite Valley were full, so we made our own camp, quite against regulations, behind a big boulder. We were very poorly equipped, using a cast iron skillet and pots taken from my parents' kitchen. I don't remember if we had a stove, but I remember eating half-cooked spaghetti with canned tomato sauce. In order to supplement our meager diet, we tried fishing in the Merced River. Tom was the only one to catch anything, a miserable little trout.

After our freshman year, your Dad met me in Santa Barbara for the annual "Old Spanish Days" celebration. His date, a friend of mine, still remembers him. We took off for the Los Padres National Forest behind the city with our 22 rifles. The area was posted for no hunting or shooting, but in frustration we did so anyway. And we were caught. A few weeks later, I got a letter from the Santa Barbara County District Attorney saying they were dropping charges because of how a criminal charge would affect your Dad's career at Annapolis. Nice to have friends in high places! So much for our short-lived life of crime.

Your Dad was uncomplicated, straight-forward, honest, and intelligent, the best of friends. I often think of the last time we saw him in Monterey. He had just finished getting his masters degree and knew he would be going back to Viet Nam. He explained his view of how important this was, for the United States and for the military. By analogy, he said, look, you are an empirical scientist, and so am I. This is our laboratory, where we learn the science of warfare. Every generation needs some combat, in order that leaders not be like the "ruler of the queen's navy" in HMS Pinafore. Tragically true.

I see old Torrance friends every now and then. Sanfred Smith still lives in Torrance, Ken Bartholic (102604.77@compuserve.com) not too far away in Irvine. One of our high school teachers, Alice Hammond (alicehammond@webtv.net), is still there and amazingly still remembers all of us. (She is very dear, in her mid-80's, suffers from MS, sharp as a tack.) It would be great for all of us to get together. I am sure that one story would inspire another.

Best regards to you and your family,
Dick

Ryon@attbi.com
Richard and Doris Ryon DICK RYON, 6/5/03

Time and age has dimmed some of my memory of your dad. We went to Torrance High School together. Tom excelled at everything he did. His achievements were the benchmark that we tried to follow. He was all-around topknotch. In math class he helped me understand the ununderstandable. On the trach field he took time to show me how to improve. On the wrestling team he would wrestle up in weight class just so I would have someone to practice with. He did all this because he cared about people.

Tom had alot of God given gifts and he used them all. of all the people I ever met he is absolutely one of the best. I look up to him to this day.

When we graduated not too many were to eager to join the service. Many avoided the draft by getting married or getting some kind of deferrment or becoming a six month reserve. Tom told me that if we want to play we have to pay. meaning that the right to live in this wonderful country will all of the freedom and opportunity comes with a cost. That short message helped me decide to join up. I served four and a half years. Most of it in the western pacific. Why I came back and Tom did not only God knows. Your dad is in my heart every day. I am so glad that he lives on in you and the rest of your family. Conrad vonBlankenburg, 11/11/02

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Class of 1962

Thomas is one of 30 members of the Class of 1962 in Memorial Hall.