The Oklahoma Army National Guard posthumously inducted a Seminole native and retired Army Colonel into the Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame, at an OCS graduation ceremony in Oklahoma City on Sept. 17. Col. Ernest "Mac" Carter served in the Oklahoma Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve for more than 28 years.
On December 5, 1975, while serving as an elementary school principal, and after the discovery of a gas leak inside the main building, Col. Carter chose to put his personal safety aside and proceeded to clear the administration building moments before the explosion destroyed the Roosevelt Central Elementary School.
After assessing the situation and the impending danger, he chose not to sound the alarm for fear the alarm could cause a spark and possibly ignite a flame causing an explosion and panic among the occupants of the education building. He instead, chose to personally go room-to-room inside the school building looking for any children and staff that may have been left behind.
He received the Oklahoma Star of Valor, the highest award for heroism from the Oklahoma National Guard.
It was the quick action and selfless service to others that led to the safe evacuation of more than 200 children. It was his quick actions that set him apart as an outstanding educator and leader and what led his induction into the OCS Hall of Fame.
He served as a professional educator for more than 32 years. Serving as a teacher and administrator in the Oklahoma City, Edmond and Seminole Public Schools. He served in the military in numerous command and staff assignments in the Oklahoma National Guard. One of his assignments was OCS instructor, the same organization recognizing him for the hall of fame induction.
Col. Carter is survived by his wife, Kathryn, and their two sons. His youngest son David became principal of the same school as his father. His oldest son Brad serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Oklahoma Army National Guard.
"I recall going to work with my dad and younger brother on several occasions and running up and down the halls," Lt. Col. Brad Carter said, "My father's service to the Guard was a major factor in my decision to serve in the Guard as well."
Col. Ernest "Mac" Carter was tragically killed in a single vehicle accident on December 30, 2008.