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'HONORING SERGEANT CARTER' Black soldier's struggle provides inspiring tale



Published: Wed, February 12, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



The author endured many trials of her own in researching the story of her father in law.

By BARBARA J. ROSS

SPECIAL TO THE VINDICATOR

"Honoring Sergeant Carter," by Allene G. Carter and Robert L. Allen (Harper Collins, $24.95).

Sergeant Edward A. Carter Jr., did everything he could to earn whatever top military honors the United States military could give.

He was a born leader and an excellent and brave soldier. In one battle, he single-handedly took out an entire squad of German solidiers.

And yet, when his service to his country was complete, he received the Distinguished Service Cross (America's second highest combat honor) and not the top prize, the Medal of Honor and burial in Arlington National Cemetery.

Like most World War II soldiers, Carter never truly told of his successes. This explains why Allene Carter , Edward's daughter-in-law, was shocked to be contacted by the Department of Veteran's Affairs requesting the family's presence at a White House ceremony to posthumously award the Medal of Honor.

Fortunately for us, Allene became obsessed with discovering Carter's story and relaying it to the world. Along with Robert L. Allen, she did just that, chronicling his feats and her search for the truth in & quot;Honoring Sergeant Carter, & quot; published by Harper Collins.

Her quest for information was not an easy one. Family trials and tribulations afforded her few opportunities to interview those who at one time may have known relevant details. Allene, unfamiliar with the ways of the military and not a historical researcher, had to search for clues in the most unlikely of places.

Many would have joined her husband to graciously accept the award for Sergeant Carter, rustle proud feathers, and take home the ultimate in family pride. Not Allene Carter! She navigated an unfamiliar web of information without so much as a road map.

. Carter was the victim of two American discriminations: First, along with fellow black soldiers, Carter fought in the only United States war in which no black Americans were awarded the highest military award of our land. Second, he was continuously denied the opportunity to re-enlist in the military because as the son of missionaries, he grew up in countries like China and India.

Readers will fully understand Carter's sacrifice and the work of many who wanted to ensure that his deeds were properly noted in history. They will surely find Allene Carter's own mission quite intriguing. Like her father-in-law, this Carter never gave up! She steers readers through waters of another era.

There, our constitution failed to guarantee free speech and the right to belong to organizations considered & quot;subversive. & quot; Edward Carter was allowed to fight for American life, but not to experience its rewards.

Carter's daughter-in-law felt compelled to tell the world about this soldier -- an American hero denied his due -- and his contributions to its freedom. Because of them, we can be thankful that we know Edward A. Carter.

XRoss is a librarian at Chaney High School.




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