YORKTOWN, NY - Many of us never get the chance to fulfill our dreams. Major Clayton Carpenter did, becoming a highly decorated helicopter pilot. But pursing his passion was not without risk. Major Carpenter willingly made the ultimate sacrifice while serving his country. In recognition of his peerless service, Senator Terrence Murphy sponsored a bill (S7659), seeking to name a portion of state route 118 and state route 202 in Yorktown as the Army Major Clayton Carpenter Memorial Highway. Today, Senator Murphy's promise to honor a fallen hero came to fruition when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law.
"A hero is someone who has given his life for something bigger than himself, and Clayton Carpenter certainly deserves to be called a hero," said Senator Terrence Murphy. "It is important that we never forget the men and women in our armed forces that valiantly stood tall in defense of our freedom. By naming a highway near his home in his honor, we will always remember Major Carpenter's legacy of dedication and bravery."
Clayton Carpenter was born in Brooklyn, New York, on August 12, 1983, as the first son to Paul Douglas and Colette Borom Carpenter. In 1992, the Carpenter Family moved to Cortlandt Manor, New York. Clayton was a role model for youth in his church and the community. A scholastic athlete at Lakeland High School, he was twice named team captain on the boys' track and field team. At 16, he was one of the youngest candidates to pass the EMT examination.
Nominated by former Vice President Al Gore and United States Representative Sue W. Kelly (R-Katonah), Clayton accepted an appointment into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in February 2001, where he graduated with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Engineering Psychology in 2005. After being commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, Clay was assigned to Fort Rucker, Alabama, for Initial Entry Rotary Wing Training.
Upon completion of the Aviation Officer Basic Course, he was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment at Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii, and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in June of 2008. He further served in Iraq as a Headquarters Company Commander and was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in September of 2011. He earned a place with the Night Stalkers, an elite operations unit which flies missions behind enemy lines, in September 2012 as special operations helicopter platoon leader for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.
Captain Clayton Carpenter died on Wednesday, January 15, 2014, while flying his Blackhawk helicopter on a training mission near Hunter Army Airfield, Savannah, Georgia. He was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on March 5, 2014.
At the time of his death, Clayton Carpenter was a Captain. He was posthumously promoted by the Army to Major and awarded another Meritorious Service Medal.
Clayton Carpenter's awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (w/1 Oak Leaf Cluster), Air Medal (w/Numeral 2), Army Commendation Medal (w/Valor Device), Meritorious Unit Citation (w/1 Oak Leaf Cluster), National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal (w/Bronze Service Star), Iraq Campaign Medal (w/3 Bronze Service Stars), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (w/Numeral 3), and NATO Medal.
Senator Murphy had previously inducted Major Carpenter into the 40th Senate District's New York State Veterans' Hall of Fame. In a ceremony held May 24, 2016 in Albany, Senator Murphy presented his mother, Colette Carpenter, with an award honoring his distinguished military career.