Bill Carpenter- A Soldier's Valor


Posted Jun 16, 2003


"I want a man for a secret and dangerous mission. I want a West Point football player."- General George C. Marshall, United States Army World War 11. Truer words were never spoken concerning a soldier from our country in another war and another time. That man was one of the finest football ends ever to wear the Black, Gold and the Gray. That man was Bill Carpenter, the original "Lonesome End" of West Point--

A SILVER STAR AFFIRM'S BILL CARPENTER'S VALOR
By United Press International (now defunct)

Tau Morong, South Viet Nam, June 12, 1966 (UPI) -Freshly-shaved and wearing a clean uniform, Capt. William Carpenter received the Silver Star today for his daring in calling down a U.S. napalm attack on his own position when it was being overrun by Communist troops.

He mumbled a shy word of thanks to Gen. William C. Westmoreland, chief of U. S. forces in Viet Nam, who had flown to one of the war's bloodiest battlefields to decorate the young hero.

Carpenter, 28, West Point football's first and most famous "lonesome end " has been recommended also for the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The War-Goes On

Artillery fire boomed throughout the brief ceremony. U.S. big guns were still trying to soften up an estimated two North Viet Namese regiments in the jungle from which Carpenter and his surviving men had emerged.

Westmoreland grinned when Lt. Col. Henry (The Gunfighter) Emerson, of Carpenter's 101st Airborne, called out, "We're not through yet."

"You're damned right, you're not," Westmoreland replied.

Expects Big Offensive

"So far this has been a very successful operation," Westmoreland said. The tall general, his sleeves rolled up past his elbows and the familiar olive drab fatigue cap shading his eyes from the sun, told newsmen he and his staff had known for some time that the Communists had at least, a regiment in this jungle 300 miles north of Saigon.

The general said he expected major Communist offensive action throughout the country and in the central highlands as the monsoon rains pick up.

Too Old? Not This Sarge

During the ceremony Westmoreland spotted Carpenter's first sergeant, Master Sgt. Walter J. Sabalauski, 55, of Palm Bay, Fla., still nursing an arm seared by the napalm. The big, gruff sergeant won loud praise from his company for ignoring Communist ire and standing upright in the battlefield to direct his men.

"Sergeant," said the general, you're too old for this."

"No sir" replied Sabalauski. Westmoreland grinned. "Every time I see you, You look tougher and meaner."


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