Los Angeles Fire Department
In Memory of
Captain Michael J. Carter
Engine Company 27
Appointed November 23, 1925
Promoted to Auto Fireman March 1, 1932
Promoted to Captain June 16, 1932
Died June 9, 1950
Cardiac arrest at fire.
Alco Research Corporation
1107 North El Centro Avenue
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Captain Michael J. Carter
Carter, an Irish Catholic, was a stationary engineer and electrician by
trade and worked at the Mercy Hospital in Bakersfield.
On December 26, 1917, after war had broken out in Europe, he
enlisted in the army. He
was sent to France with the Signal Corps of the 361st Infantry of the
American Expeditionary Force. His
battalion ended up near Gesnes and came under heavy combat.
During the battle of the Meuse-Argonne it was reported: "He
repeatedly spliced telephone wires in the midst of heavy artillery and
machine gun fire during the attack and displayed exceptional coolness
and personal bravery and aided materially in maintaining communication
between battalion and regimental posts.”
Corporal Carter was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for
The following is from a letter sent home by Corporal Carter:
"Received a bunch of mail from you since I wrote last.
I have been pretty busy for some time past; Have been 'over the
top', helping to chase the Huns. Have been in one of the big drives
you have read so much about. You may also have read of our Division, as
you know which one I belong to. It has made a good name. Well,
I have been pretty lucky, and I feel I have somebody's good prayers.
"A bullet just hit my elbow; the wound was
so slight I did not have to get it dressed. Another time I had my
gun shot to pieces, but one does not mind that a bit. I just went
ahead and did my duty. One knows no fear under fire.
I am still in
the signal corps: like it pretty well, but have found it very
responsible work as the lives of comrades depend on you all the time.
It's nice to go out on a telephone wire and make twenty splices in ten
"Have been pretty busy for the past few months,
but it seems the close of the war is at hand. It seems funny not
to hear the guns roar. The day the armistice was signed was the
first day the music ceased to our ears since Sept. 12. 1918 I went
over the top the first time on Sept. 26. We advanced 12 miles that
day and gained our objective. We were in some tough fighting, but
I escaped with a few minor experiences. You would never forget it if you
were along. It was mighty uncomfortable, but something one may well be
proud of. To strike a blow for American boys is a pleasure, they
never retreat, though they suffer. Enough about war, now that the job is finished, I hope I can
visit home (Ireland) before returning to the U.S.
"Kind regards to relatives and friends,
(Corporal) Michael Carter.
Source: Carter Family
Photo Date: Circa 1929
Truck Company 9 assigned at Engine Company 27
Carter was discharged from the army April 30, 1919. He
returned to Bakersfield and assumed the position as engineer at the Mercy
without mention of his experiences of
the war. He
never made much of his wartime service but his comrades did.
After much investigation by newspaper reporters and friends it
was finally discovered that Carter did earn the cross of honor but had
stowed it away in his mess kit.
Carter was appointed to
the Los Angeles Fire Department on November 11, 1925.
On February 26, 1932 he was appointed to the position of Auto
Fireman and several months later, on June 6, to Fire Captain.
Captain Carted died on
duty at a structure fire on June 9, 1950.
His company, Engine 27, had been dispatched to a fire at the
Specialty Record Co., a two-story commercial building at 1107 El. Centro. Captain Carter
collapsed while directing his company at the smoke-and-fume-filled blaze.
He apparently was overcome while standing near a doorway from
which clouds of smoke were billowing.
Rescue Unit No. 27 was
called and its members worked over him for some time without avail. Carter
had died before arrival at Georgia Street Receiving Hospital.
Captain Carter was
survived by his wife, Mrs. Sue Carter; two daughters, Mary M. Kearns of
Highland Park and Theresa C. Koenig of Pacoima and two sons, Thomas J. of
San Fernando and John of North Hollywood.
He also has five brothers.
and Letters of Condolences
Alco Research Corporation Fire
Ingeborg Tillisch Kelley Collection
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