William Elmer Carlson
William Elmer Carlson
  • March 5, 1929 - September 2, 2017
  • Orlando, Florida

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BG William E. Carlson (RET.), 88, of Orlando, passed away on September 2, 2017 in Orlando.

Celebration of Life will be held at Baldwin Fairchild Goldenrod, 7520 Aloma Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32792 on 9/16/2017 at 1:00 PM.

Bill was born in Orlando (Goldenrod) to Olaf and Laura Carlson on March 5, 1929. He went to high school at Winter Park High and graduated in 1947. He went on to earn a degree in Agriculture from the University of Florida. He later received his Master's Degree from George Washington University. Bill was at R.O.T.C. summer camp at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, when the Korean war broke out. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Artillery and, after Officer's Basic Course, was immediately called to active duty. During the war, Bill served as Forward Observer, Battery Executive Officer and was a Battery Commander when the war ended. Bill served 13 months in combat as a field artillery officer. He was Executive Officer C-Battery 96 Field Artillery during the Wonju shoot. The Battery accounted for over 3,600 enemy soldiers when it was assaulted by massive waves of Red Chinese soldiers. After the war, Bill was offered a commission in the Regular Army, which he accepted.

During his 31-year military career, he had many and varied assignments. He served three years as a Special Agent in Counter Intelligence Corps. In the Vietnam War, he commanded a field artillery battalion, and at a later date he commanded a Division Artillery 25th Infantry Division. He also was the Chief of Staff of the 25th, which is located at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. He has served on the Army General Staff and three tours with the Joint Chief of Staff. He was the Assistant Division Commander 7th Infantry Division, Fort Ord, California. During his last tour of duty, he worked directly for the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff. His last assignment was Deputy U.S. Military Representative to N.A.T.O. During his military career, he attended the Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, and the Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island.

Bill retired from the United States Army as a Brigadier General after over thirty years of service. He has received twenty-nine awards and decorations to include the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, the Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Army Commendation Medal, Bronze Star for Valor with an oak leaf cluster, the Silver Star for Gallantry in Action, the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters (three awards), the Department of the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the highest peacetime award to military officers. He is currently listed in "Who's Who in America". For his work with N.A.T.O. allies, he is also listed in the "Who's Who in the World".

Since retiring from the military in October 1981, Bill has been active in the community. He was President of St. Paul's Lutheran Church Council and Congregation from 1982-1988. He has been on the Board of Directors of Orlando Lutheran Towers since 1982 and served as Vice Chairman of the Board. He is past President of the Rotary Club of Orange County East, past President of the Goldenrod Area Chamber of Commerce, past President and Vice President of the Goldenrod Historical Society, and was a member of the board of trustees for the Central Florida Sheltered Workshop. Bill was also the Vice President of the Goldenrod Civic Club a member of the Orange County Planning and Zoning Commission in 1989 through 1991 and a member of the Orange County Board of Adjustment.

Bill is survived by his wife, Nancy of 62 years. They have three children, Brad, and his wife Marcy, Cecilie and Paul, three granddaughters Courtney, Brittany, Summer and one great grandchild Austin. He is also survived by his sister Florida Gilmartin, and his niece Rosemary O’Shea.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Rotary International.