Private Lloyd G. McCarter, USA (February 16-19, 1945)

Lloyd G. McCarter was born in Saint Maries, Idaho on May 11, 1917. Very little is known about his life, and his enlistment record isn’t in those kept by the National Archives. From an article written years later by his commanding officer, Lieutenant William T. Calhoun, we do know that he had worked as a lumberjack in civilian life, had reached the rank of Sergeant in the artillery before volunteering for demotion to Private so he could attend jump school.

McCarter arrived as a replacement in the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment during May of 1944 and fought with the regiment on New Guinea during the Battle of Noemfoor. He was somewhat of a troublemaker, and even was charged for being AWOL – while he stowed away with another unit to keep fighting.

McCarter was retrieved from the stockade by Lieutenant Calhoun for the regiment’s action to recapture Corregidor in the Philippines. Beginning with the 503rd’s parachute assault on February 16, 1945 and during the following three days, McCarter continually exposed himself to eliminate enemy opposition and stand alone between his comrades and withering Japanese counter-attacks.

From Medal of Honor Citations for World War II (M-S):

Medal of Honor ribbon (foreground); World War II Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon (background)
Medal of Honor ribbon (foreground); World War II Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon (background)
Lloyd G. McCarter (Wikimedia Commons)


Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment. Place and date: Corregidor, Philippine Islands, 16-19 February, 1945. Entered service at: Tacoma, Wash. G.O. No.: 77, 10 September 1945

Citation: He was a scout with the regiment which seized the fortress of Corregidor, Philippine Islands. Shortly after the initial parachute assault on 16 February 1945, he crossed 30 yards of open ground under intense enemy fire, and at pointblank range silenced a machinegun with hand grenades. On the afternoon of 18 February he killed 6 snipers. That evening, when a large force attempted to bypass his company, he voluntarily moved to an exposed area and opened fire. The enemy attacked his position repeatedly throughout the night and was each time repulsed. By 2 o’clock in the morning, all the men about him had been wounded; but shouting encouragement to his comrades and defiance at the enemy, he continued to bear the brunt of the attack, fearlessly exposing himself to locate enemy soldiers and then pouring heavy fire on them. He repeatedly crawled back to the American line to secure more ammunition. When his submachine gun would no longer operate, he seized an automatic rifle and continued to inflict heavy casualties. This weapon, in turn, became too hot to use and, discarding it, he continued with an M-l rifle. At dawn the enemy attacked with renewed intensity. Completely exposing himself to hostile fire, he stood erect to locate the most dangerous enemy positions. He was seriously wounded; but, though he had already killed more than 30 of the enemy, he refused to evacuate until he had pointed out immediate objectives for attack. Through his sustained and outstanding heroism in the face of grave and obvious danger, Pvt. McCarter made outstanding contributions to the success of his company and to the recapture of Corregidor.

McCarter was discharged due to his wounds later in 1945. His Medal of Honor was presented to him by President Harry S. Truman at the White House. He returned to civilian life and later married.

McCarter fell into deep depression after the death of his wife from cancer and lived in great pain from his war wounds, which left a bullet in his body close to his heart that surgeons couldn’t remove. He tragically took his own life at an all too young age of 38 on February 2, 1956, and a grateful nation lost who Lieutenant Calhoun called, “the best warrior I ever knew.”

Lloyd G. McCarter rests in peace in the Woodlawn Cemetery in his home town of Saint Maries.


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