Carter Avery Howell, Captain, United States Air Force, piloted an F4E aircraft on a mission over Laos on March 7, 1972. His plane exploded on impact and he and the co-pilot, Stephen A Rusch were declared MIA. On January 21, 1975, Howell and Rusch were pronounced KIA.
Carter Howell, Citadel '69, was my squad sergeant, and then platoon sergeant, during my knob year at The Citadel. After a particularly hard day I determined to leave The Citadel. Carter Howell came to my room and convinced me to stay. His visit was one of the most memorable events of my four years at The Citadel.
Each Memorial Day, I remember Carter Howell and the many members of the United States armed forces who gave their lives in defense of our country. So very often these patriots and heroes are names etched on memorials for having fulfilled their duty and for having paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we so cherish as Americans. When I remember Carter Howell, it is the memory of a face, a person, an individual, who valued our nation and who influenced me in a distinctly personal way. I will never forget him and the compassion and care he exhibited toward me. Every time i see my Citadel diploma, and the ring I so proudly wear, I thank God for Carter Howell.
It's out of context, but when I remember Carter Howell, a verse from Proverbs inspires me. Solomon wrote, "My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart" (Proverbs 3:1, NIV). The words Carter Howell spoke to me that night changed the trajectory of my life. Today I am remembering him and all those who gave their lives to preserve those things we value most.
Beyond the Memorial Day extras, please spend some time remembering.