Col. Anthony Carroll
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Retired Army Col. Anthony Carroll, 82, of Carlisle, Pa., died Monday in the Carlisle Regional Medical Center.
He was born Oct. 8, 1930, in Butler, and was a son of the late Anthony Carroll and Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Vickey.
Carroll graduated from Butler High School in 1948 and had a bachelor's degree from Troy State University in Alabama and a master's degree in business from Shippensburg University.
Carroll has served in the military uniform for more than 36 years. He enlisted in the Butler unit of the Pennsylvania National Guard in 1947 while a junior in high school. He worked for the National Guard in Butler until he was called to active duty at the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950.
He was a sergeant first class with the 28th Infantry division at Camp Atterbury, Ind., until 1951. Commissioned an infantry lieutenant in 1952, he completed airborne training the same year. He completed flight training in 1953 and flew with the 45th and 24th Infantry Divisions in Korea during 1953-1954. He then served with the 1st Calvary Division in Japan until 1956.
Carroll flew for four years as a test pilot with the Army Aviation Test Board at Fort Rucker, Ala., where he pioneered the arming of the Army helicopters with anti-tank guided missiles, rockets and other weapons. Demonstrating the French SS-11 ATGM for President Eisenhower and top defense officials, he scored three direct hits on tanks at the maximum two mile range, convincing the president that helicopters could destroy tanks. He was selected to fire the first nuclear weapon from an Army helicopter had that project proceeded.
He flew the last Army P-51 Mustang and was the first Army pilot qualified to fly helicopters under instrument weather conditions. He was sent to Okinawa in 1961 to oversee the arming of the first helicopter gunships to see action in the Vietnam War.
In 1963, he was assigned as one of the original members of the newly formed 11th Air Assault Division at Fort Benning, Ga., and participated in the testing and evaluation of the Army's new airmobile concept. In 1965, the division was redesignated as the 1st Air Cavalry Division and deployed to the Central Highlands of Vietnam where it fought the first American division-scale battle of the war against the North Vietnamese 325th Division at Plei Me only weeks after arriving in Vietnam.
Then a major, Carroll served in this and other campaigns as the executive officer of an airborne infantry battalion, making a number of parachute jumps in Vietnam.
From Vietnam, he returned to the Aviation Test Board, where for the next four years he again participated in the test and evaluation of numerous experimental aircraft and new Army aircraft and weapons systems.
In 1970, he returned to Vietnam for another year of combat duty, serving first as the deputy commander of the 164th Combat Aviation Group, the largest unit of its type in Vietnam. Later he took command of the 214th Combat Aviation Battalion, which operated 155 combat aircraft over a 15,000 square mile area, which included the U Minh Forest, the Mekong River Delta and parts of Cambodia. The battalion he commanded included officers and enlisted men from the Royal Australian Navy and the Vietnamese and Cambodian Air Forces, as well as the U.S. Army.
He flew more than 660 hours in combat operations and had over 10,000 hours of flying time during his career. After his second tour in Vietnam, he was assigned to the Department of the Army staff in the Pentagon, where he managed development of programs for new weapons systems.
He attended the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, the Army's highest level of military education. After graduation, he was assigned to the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, where he was responsible for the preparation of plans and exercises to test worldwide nuclear war procedures.
In 1976, he was selected to command the 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C. Following this command, he returned to Carlisle and taught global military strategy at the Army War College for five years.
He received 54 awards and decorations for valor and service, including two Legions of Merit, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, four Bronze Stars, 23 Air Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals, the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and Honor Medals, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Master Army Aviator Badge, U.S. and Vietnamese Parachutist Badges, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Badge, and the Army Staff Badge.
Carroll retired as a regular Army colonel in 1983 with more than 36 years of military service.
Carroll is survived by his loving wife of 62 years Virginia Lawhead Carroll; three children, daughter, Debra Cline of Colorado, son, Daniel and his wife, Karen, of Carlisle and daughter Dotty Price of Carlisle; a sister, Barbara Browning of Florida; a sister-in-law, Helen Carroll of Maryland, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
CARROLL - Visitation for retired Army Col. Anthony Carroll, who passed away Monday, April 29, 2013, will be at Ronan Funeral Home, 225 York Road, Carlisle, Pa., from 11 a.m. until the time of the service Monday. Funeral services will be at the funeral home at noon Monday with the Rev. Dwight D. Schlaline officiating. Burial with military honors will follow in Indiantown Gap National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to The Salvation Army, 125 S. Hanover St., Carlisle, PA 17013.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.ronanfh.com.
Published in Butler Eagle from May 4 to May 5, 2013
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