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ETSU Army ROTC

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Carson R. Gentry, Sr.
Carson R. Gentry Sr.

 

Sergeant First Class (Retired)

Carson R. Gentry, Sr.

The ninth of ten children in his family, Sergeant First Class Carson Gentry grew up in the Shelton Laurel Community in Madison County, NC. At 17, he enlisted in the Army as a Field Artilleryman and (after initial training at Fort Jackson, SC) was stationed with the 7th Infantry Division in Seoul, South Korea. 

In 1950, just two weeks before he was scheduled to return home, North Korea invaded South Korea, and Sergeant Gentry’s stay was extended. His unit fought in the battle of the Chosin Reservoir, called by some historians “the most savage battle of modern warfare.” During that battle, Sergeant Gentry was wounded multiple times by gunfire as well as shrapnel from a mortar round. Captured by the Chinese Red Army before he could be evacuated, he spent three years as a Prisoner of War before his release and return to the United States.

After the Korean War ended, Sergeant Gentry spent several more years with the Army, serving in Iceland, Panama, Fort Benning, Ga., and Fort Gordon, Ga., before eventually retiring as a Sergeant First Class. After a tour as a Drill Sergeant, his last assignment brought him to East Tennessee State University, where he served as an ROTC instructor for two years.

Following military retirement, he was an ETSU employee for 25 years, managing equipment inventory and carrying out a number of other duties. Today, he remains extremely active in the Johnson City community, supporting the local American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Posts; working with the East Tennessee Chapter of the ex-Prisoners of War, which he founded; and maintaining close ties with ETSU’s ROTC Department. More than 60 years after he entered the Army he remains a shining example of the values, commitment, courage, and dedication that make our Non-Commissioned Officer Corps, and our Army, so exceptional.

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