William A. Carter


William A. Carter was born in Corsicana, Texas on June 27, 1907, the son of William Arnold and Susan Young Carter. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1930; earned his B.S. degree in civil engineering from University of California in 1933; married Katherine Munson on July, 1934; was commissioned second lieutenant of U.S. Army in 1930; and advanced through the ranks to major general in 1953.

Carter was assigned professor of the Engineering School in Fort Belvoir, Virginia from 1933 to 1934; officer of the second New Orleans Engineer District from 1936 to 1937; was head of department of general subjects from 1941 to 1942; II U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tunisian, Sicilian campaign from 1942 to 1945; executive officer of Engineer Research and Development laboratories from 1945 to 1948. Carter was appointed chief engineer of the 3d. U.S. Army from 1948 to 1951. He was a combat engineer in World War II and was chief engineer of the II Corps in the Mediterranean under General Omar Bradley and chief engineer of the 1st Army for Normandy invasion and European campaign.

Carter was appointed Governor of Panama Canal Zone on July 3, 1960 and served in that position until January, 1962. Carter served as governor for a short year and a half. During that time, he carried forward number of programs begun by his predecessors. A project to widen the Panama Canal continued, the Thatcher Ferry bridge took shape, the first of the new locks towing locomotives arrived, three new towboats were ordered and plans were made to convert the Canal’s Marine Traffic Control Center to an electronic operation.

Under his tenure, new methods of locks overhauls were studied to reduce time lost while chambers were drained for maintenance. A very visible leader, Carter traveled widely throughout Panama seeking to improve U.S. relations with the Panamanian people and their leaders. A group of Panamanian friends presented him with a gold medal and hailed him as a "Friend of Panama".

Carter earned a Distinguished Service Medal. After retiring from active duty, was senior engineering adviser of the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C. He died on May 18, 1996.