Clifton Carroll Carter – Brigadier General, United States Army


An extremely popular professor, Clifton Carroll Carter taught at West Point for 25 years. As a yearling, he was a Corporal, a First Sergeant as a cow, and a Captain in his last year at the Academy.

His two sons also were graduates of West Point: Clifton Coleman Carter in 1926 and Marshall Sylvester Carter in 1931, plus a grandson, Marshall Nichols Carter in 1962.

A cadet wrote an article in The Pointer in 1940 when Brigadier General Carter retired. The article begins “What makes a West Pointer?” The most admired professor of his era, he was forced to retire at age 64.

Education was of utmost importance to Carter. Before coming to West Point, he was enrolled in a degree program at the University of Kentucky.

After graduating 21st in his class (United States Military Academy class of 1899, after Farrar, he was assigned to several posts before coming to West Point. While in Cuba, he was the aide to General Leonard Wood. By the end of that tour, he was well known for his varied and extensive experience in the field of electrical engineering. “He has had more and varied extensive experience…than any other officer of his grade, and possibly of any other grade as well.”

He then attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology with plans to take a course in electrical engineering. He took several courses and earned a degree from MIT in only 10 months, the first degree on record to be awarded in less than one year.

Carter married Mai Coleman (“Aunt Mai” as she was affectionately known) in 1902.

He retired in 1940 but returned to service soon after the U.S. entered World War II. He joined the aircraft industry and Cal-Aero Academy as Assistant to the President and General Coordinator of Flying Training and Technical School Activities. He was promoted to Brigadier General on the retired list.

General Carter died in Washington, DC, in 1950 at the age of 74, and was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 07/12/1876
  • DATE OF DEATH: 09/20/1950

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