World War II veteran Edward Carter will celebrate a century of life on Tuesday – Reuters
WWII vet Edward Carter will celebrate a century of life on Tuesday
Posted at 9:46 am on Sunday, October 2, 2022
A local WWII veteran will soon be celebrating a century of life.
Edward Carter was born in a cabin on the family farm four miles north of Roanoke in rural Jeff Davis Parish on October 4, 1922, but now resides at the Southwest Louisiana Veterans Home not far from the small town where he grew up.
Carter and his older brother, James, were raised on the farm where their father grew rice, a garden, and raised cattle, and their mother raised turkeys, guineas, and chickens.
“I had to lift the dairy cows,” Carter said. “My dad milked them, but I had to lift them up and get them ready for milking.”
He collected eggs and cleaned the chicken coop to earn a penny a week. He spent the money on “soda pops” and watching westerns starring Buck Jones and Gene Autry every Saturday when he accompanied his mother to Jennings to sell her chickens and eggs.
“I remember the shopkeeper telling my mom that chickens always sold better when the races were in New Orleans,” he said, adding that people didn’t have freezers outside. time and had to buy the live chickens.
Most families had 50 pounds of ice delivered once a week to keep food and milk cool, he said.
Carter, who received a pacemaker in January, said her secret to a long life is to walk, eat a healthy diet and get good care from her doctors.
“They are the reason I am alive today,” he said. “I’ve lived a great life and the way it turned out, you couldn’t ask for more.”
Carter was drafted into the military in 1942 at age 20 while attending Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute (SLI), now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and served in World War II. . He was discharged from his position in 1946 at the age of 23 and returned to Roanoke to farm rice for a year before returning to college to earn a degree in business administration and accounting.
While in the military, Carter received basic training at Camp Wolters in Mineral Wells, Texas. He sailed to the UK aboard the Queen Elizabeth, landing in Scotland in June 1942 before boarding a train for Salisbury, England, where he served.
“There were 15,000 people on the boat,” he recalls. “You slept on deck and had a bed every other night.”
He also remembers that the ship was zigzagging so that the German submarines couldn’t find the ship.
While in Salisbury, Carter was assigned to guard prisoners until someone threw something into the fire, causing an explosion that injured his eye, nearly costing him his sight.
“They sent me to the field hospital with the idea of gouging out my eyes,” he said. “Then they took me to the hospital where a doctor in Boston, Mass. said he could save my eye so I didn’t need to have a glass eye.”
After recovering, he was reassigned to work at what is now Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he served for two and a half years. He also trained at Fitzsimons General Hospital in Denver, Colorado before returning to Fort Sam Houston.
His older brother James, who served overseas and was wounded in Germany.
Carter was at home when Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941, dragging the United States into World War II.
“Everyone said where the hell Pearl Harbor was,” he recalled after hearing the news of the attack. “They had never heard of it.”
But the American people were ready to join the military and fight for their country, he said.
“The American people have never been more united,” he said. “There was an all-out effort by the American people who won the war.”
After serving his country, Carter returned home to complete his college education and worked for the gas company in Houma where he married the love of his life Lydia Erbelding, a teacher from Johnson Bayou. The couple moved to Lake Charles and were married for 56 years until Lydia died in 2008.
They had two sons, Richard and Frederick and a daughter, Bessie, 8 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
“The most important thing in my life was marrying Lydia and the kids,” Carter said. “It’s my whole life. Without my children, I would be nothing.
Carter appreciates the excellent care he receives at the Southwest Louisiana Veterans Home and the prayers and visitation from his home church, Trinity Baptist in Lake Charles. He is scheduled to celebrate his 100th birthday on Tuesday with veterans and staff at the home as well as his family.