John William Carper, Jr

Specialist Four
Army of the United States
09 March 1949 - 03 July 1970
Sweet Home, Oregon
Panel 09W Line 115


Silver Star

Army Engineers

Bronze Star, Purple Heart (2), Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for John William Carper, Jr

27 Jul 2003

John Carper Jr. died on 3 July 1970, but not in Tay Ninh. We were at Katum near the Cambodian line. He was a strong dedicated man who missed his family as much as I did mine. He had requested we share perimeter watch every time until our Sergeant just started pairing us on his own. I grew up in upstate NY and he told me all about logging in the northwest. He must have made a real impact on me because I have been a resident of the northwest since January of 1974. I think of him and his family often. We were so close and so far away at the same time. I looked up the name and found a Jack Carper in Sweet Home. I don't know if his family has any unanswered questions. If they do and I can assist, I would be more than happy to oblige.

From a friend,
Bruce A. Harrison
10856 SE 192nd Street Renton, Wa 98055

27 Dec 2005

Billy was born 5 days after me although I never knew him. After marrying his sister Marie in 1997, I feel as if I have known him all the time.

On July 3rd, Billy had night guard duty. While his company slept they were attacked by sappers. While defending his position until the rest of the company could get mobilized, BIlly was wounded. Even though he was wounded he continued firing his weapon. Finally an RPG round hit several feet from Billy thus killing him.

For his actions Billy was awarded a second Purple Heart as well as the Bronze Star and Silver Star posthumously.

Marie and I are putting all of the awards and citations together along with pictures of Katum to be given to the local museum in Sweet Home, Oregon. This way his history will be preserved locally.

From his brother-in Law,
Bob Kennelly
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

23 Feb 2006

I met Bill in 1964 when my family moved in down the road from his family. He always had a positive attitude and a quick smile. Like the rest of us at that age, he was full of plans for the future.

I was a fairly regular presence in his home for several years and got to know his family well. I know he was loved there, and he loved them all as well. We could always count on a humorous antic or comment from Bill.

I was only one of his many friends. Bill made friends everywhere he went.

Bill is missed by his family, and all of us that knew him. I know that he would have touched many more lives had he the opportunity.

Edward J. Warner

10 Mar 2006

Friend and Fellow Soldier
In Memory of Billy Carper

Billy and I were on guard duty at 2 AM July 3rd 1970. 588th Combat Engineer Battalion stationed at Firebase Katum, a short distance from the Cambodian boarder. We were reconing by M-79 fire. Sappers over-ran our position. I was wounded and watched Billy, guns blazing, giving the VC hell. Bill died the courageous fight. Outnumbered and outgunned, he gave his life in a hard fought battle. For his selfless efforts he received the Silver Star! God Billy, you were courageous! Your friend Sp/4 Powell.

From a friend and fellow soldier,
Daniel Powell

26 Jul 2007

A Friend and Fellow Soldier
In Honor And Memory of John Carper

It has been 37 years since we lost John in Vietnam.
I remember John liked to laugh and joke.
We talked a lot about family and back home.
John was 5 days older than I was.
We both turned 21 in Vietnam.

I first met John at Cu Chi base camp.
We were both assigned to A Co 588th Engineers.
I was a mechanic in our motorpool.
We shipped out for Katum firebase May 5th 4:00 in the morning.
Our job to build roads and maintain an airstrip there.

On July 3rd between 2-2:30 in the morning
the VC overran our bermline.
John was on guard duty at that time.
John was killed by an RPG round fired by a VC.
I lost a friend forever.

From a friend and Vietnam veteran.
God bless his family.

From a friend,
Benjamin C. Hott, Jr
Augusta, W V

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The small town of Katum is located in Tay Ninh Province at the intersection of Routes 4 and 246, about 3 miles south of the border with Cambodia. Fire Support Base Katum was a bit further south, perhaps 4-1/2 miles from the border, and functioned as a forward operating base.

Katum's proximity to the border led to a variety of ills, including bombardments from NVA artillery based in the Cambodian sanctuaries as well as fairly regular ground attacks and routine mortaring. Katum was the site of the only US combat parachute assault in Vietnam, when 173rd Airborne Brigade elements jumped into the area during Operation JUNCTION CITY. The airfield at Katum was short - 3000 feet - and was greatly disliked by aircrews because of the NVA's propensity to shell the airfield during air operations.

Two men from the 588th Engineer Battalion were killed at Katum on 03 July 1970:

  • SP4 John W. Carper, Sweet Home, OR (Silver Star), A Company, and
  • CPL Donald D. Campbell, Tacoma, WA, HQ Company.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his brother-in-law,
Bob Kennelly
E-Mail may be forwarded via the

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 27 Jul 2003
Last updated 03/06/2008