12:38 PM

Alabama Squadron Salutes World War II Veteran Member

Birthday photo

ALwingMembers of the Alabama Wing’s 117th Air National Guard Composite Squadron recently honored their oldest member, 2nd Lt. Millard Carwyle, a World War II veteran who turned 97 on Dec. 5 and actively participates in squadron meetings, ground teams, and flight exercises. 

Carwyle was only 18 when he began serving with the 47th Infantry, 3rd Army, at the war’s end.  His served in occupational forces in Germany and Austria, performed border checkpoint duty with the Soviet Union, and served as a court guard for the Dachau war crimes trials.

47_Inf_Regt_DUIThe enthusiasm and energy he displays help make Carwyle a mentor and inspiration to his Birmingham-based Civil Air Patrol squadron. 

He helps set the standard for physical training, having begun competing in the Alabama Senior Olympics at age 84.  At 91 he was selected to light the ceremonial torch for the National Senior Games, held in June 2018 in Birmingham .

His Civil Air Patrol membership dates to Oct. 10, 2020, when he joined just under two months before turning 93.

AL117th“I love Civil Air Patrol and I love flying that plane,” he said. “I am learning . . . and look forward to a whole lot of other things.”

His 97th birthday happened to coincide with a regular squadron meeting. 

Carwyle was there, as usual.

2nd Lt. Millard Carwyle

His fellow members found his presence particularly inspirational on that occasion, said the squadron's commander, Maj. Thad Mullins. He also entertained them with war stories as they gathered in front of a vintage U.S. Air Force refueling aircraft for a birthday photo.

Carwyle regularly makes a deep impression on the squadron's adult members and cadets. The younger members especially admire him for participating in search and rescue exercises as well  as meetings. 

One cadet recalled an exercise last year during which the nonagenarian “walked around with the ground team all day  … most of us were surprised to learn he was 96 years old.”

For Carwyle, The years in your life are not what counts – it’s the life in your years."
Col. James A. Harris
Public Affairs Officer
Alabama Wing