Carlson, Evans Fordyce, born on 26-02-1896, in Sidney, New York, the son of a Congregationalist minister. He ran away from his home in Vermont in 1910 and two years later disguised his age to enter the United States Army. His long and colorful military career begin in 1912, when at the age of 16 he left high school and enlisted in the U.S. Army. When he finished his four-year enlistment he was a “top sergeant.” He had served in the Philippines and in Hawaii. He stayed out of uniform less than one year and returned.
During World War I he saw action in France, and was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in action. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in May, 1917, and made Captain of field artillery in December 1917. He served in Germany with the Army of Occupation. in time for the Mexican punitive expedition. His long and colorful military career begin in 1912, when at the age of 16 he left high school and enlisted in the U.S. Army. When he finished his four-year enlistment he was a “top sergeant.” He had served in the Philippines and in Hawaii. He stayed out of uniform less than one year and returned in time for the Mexican punitive expedition.During World War I he saw action in France, and was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in action. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in May, 1917, and made Captain of field artillery in December 1917. He served in Germany with the Army of Occupation.
He became the famed U.S. Marine Corps leader of the World War II “Carlson’s Raiders”. He is renowned for the “Makin Island raid” on 17-08-1942 and their “Long Patrol” from 04-11-1942 to 04-12-1942 behind Japanese lines on Guadalcanal, in which 488 Japanese were killed, 16 Raiders were killed and 18 wounded, during the Guadalcanal campaign. Carlson is also credited with first coining the term “Gung-ho” as it is most popularly used today. This unofficial “Gung-ho” motto of the US Marine Corps is an abbreviation for the Mandarin Gongye Hezhoushe, or industrial cooperative. The term was used in China, starting in 1938, to refer to small, industrial operations that were being established in rural China to replace the industrial centers that had been captured by the Japanese. The phrase was clipped to the initial characters of the two words, gung ho (or gung he, as it would be transliterated today), which means “work together.” This clipping became a slogan for the industrial cooperative movement. During World War I Carlson saw action in France, like Merrit Austin “Red Mike” Edson and was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in action.
His spectacular career as a Marine started in 1922 when he enlisted as a private. He was so impressed with the danger of Japanese aggression in the Far East that in 1939 he resigned his commission as a captain in order to be free to write and lecture on that subject. When the danger he foresaw neared reality in 1941, he applied to be decommissioned in the Marine Corps and was accepted with the rank of Major. A year later he was placed in command of the Second Marine Raider Battalion with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. The Marine Raiders were elite units established by the United States Marine Corps during World War II to conduct amphibious light infantry warfare, particularly in landing in rubber boats and operating behind the lines. “Edson’s” Raiders of 1st Marine Raiders Battalion and “Carlson’s” Raiders of 2nd Marine Raiders Battalion are said to be the first United States special forces to form and see combat in World War II. His leadership of that unit in the raid on Makin Island, 17-08-1942, earned him a Gold Star in lieu of a second Navy Cross. Carlson is decorated with the Navy Cross by Five-Star Admiral Chester William Nimitz for his victory on Makin Island A second Gold Star was awarded him for heroism and distinguished leadership on Guadalcanal in November. He was wounded during the Saipan operation while attempting to rescue a wounded enlisted man from a front line observation post and was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a second Purple Heart. Physical disability resulting from the wounds received on Saipan caused the General’s retirement on 01-07-1946. During the war, a total of 8.078 men, including 7.710 Marines and 368 sailors, were assigned to Raider units. Raiders received a total of seven Medals of Honor and 136 Navy Crosses.
Carlson had one son Evans Charles Carlson, born 01-10-1917 in Douglas, Cochise County, Evans Charles Carlson served in same unit as father as a Colonel and received Silver Star whilst serving with Marine Raider Battalion on Guadacanal. Also the Second Silver Star received during Korean War. Also received Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion Of Merit and 2 Distinguished Air Medals. Charles Jr died 02-04-2005, old age 87. and buried at Beaufort National Cemetery Beaufort, Beaufort County, South Carolina, Section 40 – Siet 191
Death and burial ground of Carlson, Evans Fordyce.
Carlson passed away at the age 51, after a heart attack, on 27-03-1947 and is buried on Arlington National Cemetery in Section 11. Also buried in Section 11, the Lieutenant General, Commanding General, Normandy, Henry Aurand, Air Force Brigadier General, Chief of Staff Second Air Force, Nathan Forrest III, General Lieutenant, Commander of the 10th Mountain Division , Georg Hays, Lieutenant Colonel and Fighter ace, “The Boise Bee”, Duane Beeson, 1* Major General, Commanding General 7th Armored Division, Lindsay McDonald Silvester and General, Vogues Forests, 36th Infantry Division, nicknamed “Arrowhead”, he arrested Reichsmarshal, Hermann Goering, John Dahlquist.
Medal of Honor: 14, Distinguished Service Crosses: 80, Distinguished Service Medals: 2, Silver Stars: 2.354, Legion of Merit Medals: 49, Soldier’s Medals: 77, Bronze Star Medals: 5.407 and Air Medals: 88. Total casualties. killed in action: 3.131, wounded in action 13.191 and died of wounds: 506. After 400 days of combat, the 36th Infantry Division returned to the United States in December 1945. It was returned to the Texas Army National Guard on 15-12-1945. After 400 days of combat, the 36th Infantry Division returned to the United States in December 1945. It was returned to the Texas Army National Guard on 15-12-1945.