Vietnam Veterans Day: Late Butler County Green Beret may have part of Ohio 122 named in his honor

A Butler County man killed in 1969 in Vietnam likely will be honored in Middletown after a pair of Ohio senators introduced a road naming bill this month.

The effort by Sens. Bill Coley, R-Liberty Twp., and Steve Wilson, R-Lebanon, would name a 3.2-mile stretch of Ohio 122 in honor of Army SFC Charles E. “Buck” Carpenter near his hometown of Madison Twp., known by locals as West Middletown. He died 50 years ago at the age of 27.

His oldest brother, Bill, was with the 101st Airborne during Korea, “and the boys in the family followed in his (military) footsteps. Back then, they went in for a better life.”

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Carpenter was killed by small-arms fire during a hostile conflict in Vietnam in his third tour of duty. He is survived by three daughters.

The proposed stretch of Ohio 122 to be named for Carpenter runs from Wicoff Street to Towne Boulevard and crosses the Butler-Warren county line. Carpenter lived in Warren County when he enlisted, but his brother, Robert Carpenter, said they always called Middletown and Madison Twp. home.

Coley has introduced and supported several road-naming bills during his time on the General Assembly, and those who died for this country deserve the honor, he said.

“Young people today need role models, and when you look at the lives all these guys lived — they are all so very different — they’re all heroes,” he said. “They are all true role models.”

Robert Carpenter has worked for more than a decade to have a road named for his brother.

“I’d give my life to see it, and every one of my brothers that I’ve got surviving would, too,” said Robert, who was 15 in 1969 when Buck was killed.

Coley said the naming could happen sooner than expected as it's been offered as an amendment in the Senate's transportation bill. If it's not accepted, Senate Bill 106 would be debated in a Senate committee.

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Robert Carptner was 15 when his big brother died in Vietnam, and “it really destroyed me.”

Carpenter was near the middle of 15 children and enlisted in 1959. He eventually became a Green Beret with the 5th Special Forces Group stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Being a member of the Army’s Special Forces wasn’t a surprise, said Robert Carpenter.

“He was a tough little guy,” he said of his brother, who stood 5-foot-3-inches. “He was a little fella, but he didn’t take no crap off people. He took up for his brothers. Everybody respected him, even before (he enlisted).”

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