American Legion Post 109

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Men Who Fought Boys Who Prayed

Men Who Fought...Boys Who Prayed
A Combat Chaplain's Story: Vietnam
by Walter Carter Tucker

Darkness--emotional and literal--shrouded the land as the big 707 touched down and taxied toward the blacked-out terminal. The passengers were quiet, with looks of uncertainty and concern etched on their faces.


This was it! Vietnam! War! Some of those youngsters and many others like them would be my "congregation" during the next twelve months. As I looked into the red, watery eyes of the mostly teenage soldiers, I closed my own eyes and uttered my first prayer in Southeast Asia: "Lord, make me equal to the task." And I made a silent vow to mothers and fathers whom I would never meet: "As nearly as possible, this chaplain will stand by your son through it all." Men Who Fought...Boys Who Prayed tells how that promise was carried out.

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 Walter Carter Tucker grew up on a small farm in Drew County, Arkansas. As a child he watched neighbors and older relatives go away to serve in World War II. Those young men became his heroes and made him want to do something similar. Carter answered the call to ministry while serving as a US Navy Submariner during the Korean War. After completing college and seminary in Texas, he became pastor of Union Baptist Church, Eldorado, Arkansas, in 1962. In early 1966, at the height of the Vietnam conflict, he entered the US Army as chaplain, stayed in almost sixteen years, and retired as Lieutenant Colonel in 1981. He and his wife Pauline, formerly of Okmulgee, Oklahoma, reside in Hartwell, Georgia. In recent years they have participated in mission and disaster relief trips to fifteen countries and hosted numerous pilgrimages to the Holy Land. Carter and Pauline have a son, two daughters, and nine grandchildren.