Carr, Bertram Anthony “Sonny” (P2, C1, L17)
Sergeant Bertram Anthony "Sonny" Carr, 26, of Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky, was killed in Vietnam on 1 June 1969 near Hamburger Hill, Quant Tri Province, Vietnam while serving with B Battery 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery while on federal active duty. Newspaper accounts say he was killed by a mortar attack on an aircraft landing zone.
He was a 1961 graduate of DeSales High School and in civilian life was employed at Jeffboat, Inc. in Jeffersonville, Ind. He enlisted in December 1963 and attended basic training at Fort Knox — February through July 1964. Carr joined Service Battery in November 1965. His unit was ordered to federal active duty in May 1968.
Carr is honored on Panel 23W, Row 35 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Carr is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Louisville.
1st Louisville Guardsman Dies in Vietnam
By Glenn Rutherford Courier-Journal Staff Writer The Courier-Journal, Louisville 6 Jun 1969 Page 1
A Louisville soldier who was a member of the Kentucky National Guard unit activated in May 1968 has been killed in action in Vietnam.
Sgt. Bertram (Sonny) Carr, 26, was killed Sunday by a mortar attack on an aircraft landing zone, according to the Defense Department.
He apparently is the first member of the 138th Artillery, 2nd Howitzer Battalion, of the Kentucky National Guard to die in Vietnam combat.
Some of the 105 Kentuckians activated on May 13, 1968, objected to their call-up, contending it was unconstitutional. Sgt. Carr was one of them.
“It wasn’t that they didn’t want to serve their county,” his widow, the former Betty Bogard, told a reporter in Louisville yesterday.
Couldn’t See ‘Desperate Need’
“It was just his understanding that unless there was some desperate need, the National Guard wouldn’t be called,” she said. “He felt the National Guard was for the protection of our country, over here. And he believed some of the men weren’t properly prepared to fight in Vietnam.”
Mrs. Carr said she knew of no other member of the Kentucky contingent who had been killed in the fighting.
“I know a lot of the other families, and as far as I can tell, he’s the first one to have to die for his country,” she said.
The Guardsmen held several meetings in Louisville, before being shipped to Ft. Hood, Tex. And then on to Vietnam. Lawyers for the group presented a petition to a U.S. District Court at Austin, Tex., after the men and been sent overseas.
The petition said that the U.S. Constitution authorizes the activation of organized militia only to execute the laws of the United States, to suppress an insurrection or to repel an invasion, and that their duty in Vietnam did not satisfy any of the three constitutional requirements.
But the Guardsmen lost their courtroom battles.
And Sgt. Carr lost his life.
He lived at 4713 Rutland Ave. and had served 5 ½ years with the National Guard.
Carr worked at Jeffboat, Inc., Jeffersonville, Ind., and was a graduate of DeSales High School.
He, his wife, and their 3-year-old son, John Anthony Carr, attended SS. Simon & Jude Catholic Church.
Other survivors include his grandparents, John Ganote and Mrs. Pearl Carr; a sister, Mrs. David Gerstner, and a brother, Jim Carr.
The body will be at Arch L. Heady Southern Funeral Home, 3601 Taylor Blvd.