Phillip Carpenter was the oldest son of Mr. & Mrs. Lee Carpenter of McHenry Road in Wheeling. He graduated from Highland Park High
School and entered the service in 1942. He received his basic training at Camp Robinson, Arkansas and was accepted into the Officer's
Candidate School in March, and graduated at Fort Benning on September 4, 1943. He was assigned to the 166th infantry and was stationed
at Fort Leonardwood, Missouri. He married Francis Henkel of Chicago at a ceremony performed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in November 1943 before
being sent overseas.
The following is an excerpt from a letter to Mr. & Mrs. Carpenter from Joe Vetter dated January 23, 1946.
".... I sent Phil and the men to headquarters at about 6 in the evening. They were given their orders, and Phil came back
and told me what he was going to do, and where he was to go. He wrote a letter to his wife and asked me to mail it if anything should happen.
We had supper together and he left on his patrol at about 10:00 p.m. He advanced about 600 yards and ran into a German patrol and a fire
fight ensued. That was about 11:30 p.m. At about 12:45 a.m. Sgt. Robertson, who was with Phil, reported to me that Phil had been shot
in the left side of the neck with a burst of machine gun fire, and that he was dead. Sgt. Robertson handed me Phil's watch which he took off
Phil's arm when he felt for a pulse. He told me how he crawled up to see how badly Phil had been hit and as soon as he turned him over he
said he knew he was gone. It was a very moonlit night - almost as light as day. He felt his pulse then had to withdraw because of the terrific
fire that was being placed on the area. There wasn't a chance of bringing Phil's body out at that time. What was left of the Patrol returned
to my headquarters and at about 1:15 a.m. Sgt. Robertson and another Patrol went back to try and get Phil's body but he had been moved
by the Germans, and they couldn't find him. We looked that area over very good when we did take it about 2 weeks later, but nothing was found.
This all happen at St. Germain D'Elle, France, about 12 miles south of Cerisi Forest. I do want you to know that Phil was the best officer I
had in my command, and my closest friend. I submitted Phil's promotion 5 days before he was killed. He was so pleased - he said, "Thanks Capt.
Joe. I know this will please Fran and the folks." I'm only sorry he didn't live to be 1st. Lieutenant. He wanted it so badly. He was a fine boy..."
Phillip Carpenter was the first World War II Veteran from Wheeling to give his life for his country. AMVETS Post 66 was named for
this courageous young man.
About Phillip Carpenter