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PFC Duane Elwood Carter
A Company, 720th MP Battalion, 89th MP Group, 18th MP Brigade

Line OF Duty Casualty ~ 3 November 1967 Vietnam

They Say,
our deaths are not ours,
they are yours,
they will mean what
you make of them.

They say,
we leave you our deaths,
give them some

Archibald MacLeish
poet and WWI

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     PfC Duane Elwood Carter, age 20, of Apalachin NY, was a member of a four man A Company boat crew transporting an ambush team on the Dong Nai River during a night operation.

      The boat loaded with men and gear slowed after coming off plane and water rushed over the bow quickly swamping it without warning. The four man boat crew and the seven member ambush team loaded with full gear went into the river at Grid Coordinates YT017047.

     PFC Carter disappeared from view beneath the water. SP/4 Robert”Twiggie” Henslee, a crew member, and John Stuckey, Jr. an ambush team member managed to keep themselves and PFC Tiny Stewart, a non swimming crew member, above water until rescued.

     The other boat crew member (name unknown), and all of the other Ambush Team members SSG Nededog, SP/4 Steven Senkovich, SP/4 George Gillespie, SP/4 Louis Boyatt, SP/4 Balenger R. "Skip" Brown, and the teams Popular Forces interpreter, were also able to stay afloat until a second boat arrived to assist them from the water.

     An immediate search of the river for PFC Carter proved fruitless, his body wasn’t recovered until discovered by ARVN Marines three days later. The patrol boat and weapons were also recovered by Special Forces divers.

     On 6 November at 1400 hours, Memorial Services were held at the Battalion for PFC Carter.

--- General / Personal ---
Last name: CARTER
First name: DUANE ELWOOD
Home of Record (official): APALACHIN
State (official): NY
Date of Birth: Monday, August 11, 1947
Sex: Male
Race: Caucasian
Marital Status: Single

--- Military ---
Branch: Army
Rank: PFC
Serial Number: 52967105
Component: Selective Service
Pay grade: E3
MOS (Military Occupational Specialty code): 95B10

--- Action ---
Start of Tour: Saturday, September 16, 1967
Date of Casualty: Friday, November 3, 1967
Age at time of loss: 20
Casualty type: (C3) Non-hostile, died while missing
Reason: Drowned, suffocated (Ground casualty)
Country: South VietNam
Province: Bien Hoa
The Vietnam Wall Memorial: Panel 29E - Row 014


     On 3 November 1967 I was the ambush squad radio man; Carter was the boat crew radio man. Took me awhile to get PRC-25 (radio) off my back before I surfaced...I suspect Carter got caught in the poncho/shelter half that the boat crew had rigged in the rear of boat where Carter was posted with the boat radio.

     After surfacing we treaded water and accounted for each other. SSG Nededog quickly determined we were missing someone and, thinking it might be his PRC-25 operator, called for the radio-man. I answered...we realized Carter was missing.

     A second boat that had been ahead of us returned and searched for Carter. While looking for Carter we treaded water and took care of each other. We also watched for other movement. Eventually the second boat returned from its search and boarded several of us from the river. The rest of us grabbed the side of the already over-taxed boat. The boat-crew safely delivered us to a South Vietnamese barge on the other side of the river.

     Years later I wrote a poem about Carter titled "Radio Man". I think of Carter a lot, and I know Steve (Senkovich) and Twiggie (Henslee) do too. There is something from all of us still in that river. SP/4 Balenger R. "Skip" Brown, A Company, 720th MP Battalion, 89th MP Group, 18th MP Brigade, October1967-September 1968.


Reflection: "My Cousin, A Quiet Man" I remember our shared birthday parties. Since we were born 2 months apart, our grandparents had a joint celebration for us. I still have the pictures. I was a senior in college the year that the phone call came. The war was raging and everyone I knew had lost someone. I thought we would be spared. I know how much you wanted to be a soldier like your Uncle John (my dad). With no brothers of my own you were the son of our family too. You will always be that tall skinny kid with the serious shy smile. Thanks for the memories. You really are my hero. Charlene Walvoord, 10 September 2000

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