This letter was read by Hank "Gunfighter" Emerson, to the men of Charlie Comapny,
at the Atlanta 2/502 Reunion, especially those who served under Bill Carpenter in 1966.
To the gallant men of Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion 502d Infantry 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division.
I regret that family commitments preclude my joining you for what I know will be a great reunion event. Please extend to those with whom I served in Charlie Company my thanks and appreciation for their unsurpassed performance of duty as members of the Strike Force. While the Battalion Commander saw fit to move me from Charlie Company before I had time to know many of you personally, I’d like each of you to know that there is seldom a day when you are not in my thoughts. After 40 years, I am still in awe of your commitment to each other and your unit, your selflessness, and your stoic professionalism. Your fortitude, perseverance and courage remain unmatched in my experience. For a short period of time, it was my great privilege and honor to serve with you and for that opportunity, I thank you and General Emerson. The respect, admiration and affection I have for each of you has not been dimmed by the years. Finally, I remind you that history is replete with examples of soldiers achieving extra-ordinary results in the absence of officers, but I know of no example where an officer achieved anything without soldiers !! Have a great reunion and hopefully take a few minutes to remember – Lt. Baker, PSgt. Hanna, PFC’s Murphy and Fordsham, Ellman, Shuyler, Williams and Garcia, who made it possible for the rest of us to return from Tou Morang. And express some gratitude for having had the opportunity to serve with one of the great soldiers in our Army’s history – 1st Sgt. Walter J. Sabalauski.
William “Bill” Carpenter.