William "Bill" Stanley Carpenter, Jr.
, U.S. Army (Retired) (born November 30, 1937) is an
American former Army
officer and college football
While playing college football, he gained national
prominence as the "Lonesome End" of the Army football team. During
his military service in Vietnam, he again achieved fame when he
saved his company by directing airstrikes on his own position. For
the action, he was awarded the Distinguished
William Carpenter, Jr. was born to William Stanley Carpenter, Sr.
(1907–1945) and Helen Carpenter (née
Sparks). Private First Class Carpenter, Sr. served in the U.S. 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 American Military Cemetery.
William Carpenter, Jr. married Toni M. Viglioft in 1961 and had
three children: William S. Carpenter III (1962), Kenneth Carpenter
(1964), and Stephen Carpenter (1965).
College football career
attending the United States Military Academy at West Point, Carpenter played as a tight 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 leaving him outside of huddles as a decoy. He
played on the undefeated 1958 West Point team, and in 1959, while
team captain, was named an All-American
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."
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
. That unit came under heavy enemy fire immediately
after being inserted by helicopter
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.
then Captain Carpenter's C Company, 2/502nd Parachute Infantry of the
101st Airborne Division was
in danger of being overrun during a battle with North Vietnamese forces near Dak To on the
Kontum plateau in
He intentionally radioed for an airstrike on
his own position with napalm
. 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 re-consolidate and eventually break out.
For his actions, he was again awarded the Silver Star, which was
later upgraded to the U.S.
's second highest wartime
medal, the Distinguished
In 1984, Carpenter went on to take command of the 10th Mountain Division
U.S. Army Field Forces, Korea. He eventually retired as a lieutenant general
and settled in Montana.
- Bill "The Lonely End" Carpenter, College Football Hall
of Fame, retrieved 20 December 2008.
- Stars and Stripes: From the S&S archives:
- New Roles for an Old Cast - TIME
- SPORTS PEOPLE; Still Gaining - New York
- Charles Goodman, Hell's Brigade, 1966, New
York, Prestige, ASIN: B000UCG92Q.
- Personal information from written and telephone
correspondence with William Carpenter, Jr, December