The Carters and Plunketts boast more than family ties; the big family shares almost seven decades of military service from three generations.


The Carters and Plunketts boast more than family ties; the big family shares almost seven decades of military service from three generations.

Five cousins — Travis, John, Michael and Kris Carter and Tony Plunkett, currently serve the U.S. military during tours of Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Veteran Richard Carter, father to Travis and Uncle Richard to the rest, said military service became an integral part of the family history when his extended family began military service in World War II and the Korean conflict.

Richard’s generation includes seven uncles and fathers of the five cousins. He said, “We, as a family, are proud to be Americans. We want to continue the tradition of serving and appreciate all the things America has to offer.”

Richard said that having five members of his family overseas alters his life, and that each of the cousins stays in the family’s thoughts and prayers daily.

“The odds of an incident happening with five vs. one or two increases with that many in the family overseas,” he said. Every time someone in the family hears a news report, they recognize the increased possibility that the situation affects one of the men.

The Carters and Plunketts have made Oklahoma home for the past 60 years, and each of the cousins grew up in the state.

Cmdr. John Carter and his brother Pvt. Kris Carter are the sons of Dean and Kristi Carter of Bethel. John is a Navy SeaBee serving near the Persian Gulf and Kris serves as an Army Engineer at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. He will be deployed to Iraq in May.

Spc. Michael Carter is the son of T.L. and Alice Carter of Ada. Michael is stationed in southern Iraq with the Oklahoma 45th division.

Staff Sgt. Tony Plunkett’s parents are John and Cecey (Carter) Plunkett of Shawnee. Tony also serves with the 45th division in southern Iraq.

Spc. Travis Carter serves in northern Iraq as a Black Hawk helicopter crew chief. He is the son of Richard Carter an his wife Cathleen of South Rock Creek and Phyllis Bolt and husband Ed of Bethel.

Their grandmother is Dorothy Carter Nicholas Flowers of Shawnee.

“We have a tradition of serving in the military if possible. We’re just working class people that feel we need to serve our country. It’s very honorable to serve,” Richard said.

Richard talks to each of the cousins every week through e-mail.