Carter Ham

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Carter Ham
GEN Carter F.Ham 2011.jpg
Ham in March 2011
Born (1952-02-16) February 16, 1952 (age 67)
Portland, Oregon, U.S.[1]
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1974–2013
Rank Army-USA-OF-09.svg General
Commands held U.S. Africa Command
U.S. Army, Europe
U.S. 1st Infantry Division
Battles/wars Persian Gulf War

Operation Able Sentry (Macedonia)
Iraq War

Libyan Civil War

Awards Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal
Meritorious Service Medal
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Army Commendation Medal
Army Achievement Medal

Carter F. Ham (born February 16, 1952) is a retired United States General who served as the second Commander in 2011 military intervention in Libya. [2]

Ham previously served as the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army from August 28, 2008 to March 8, 2011. Prior to that, he served as Director for Operations (J-3) at the Joint Staff from August 2007 to August 2008 and the Commanding General, U.S. 1st Infantry Division from August 2006 to August 2007, and during the Balkan crisis in the mid 1990s was the commander of "Operation Able Sentry" in Macedonia.

Early life and education

Ham was born on February 16, 1952 in Portland, Oregon, and attended Charles F. Brush High School. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from the John Carroll University, as well as an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College. He received the rank of Eagle Scout as a youth in 1965 and was bestowed the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award in 2012 from the Boy Scouts of America.


File:Carter F. Ham 2005.jpg
Ham speaking to reporters during a press briefing at the Pentagon in October 2005.
File:GEN Ham oath of office on August 28, 2008.jpg
Ham being sworn in as the commander of USAREUR by Michael Mullen in August 2008.

Ham enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1974 and served two years as an infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division before being accepted in the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (Army ROTC) while attending John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. He was commissioned, as an infantry officer, as a Distinguished Military Graduate in 1976. He later received his master's degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island as well as graduating from several military schools including the Infantry Officer Basic Course, the Armor Officer Advanced Course, the College of Naval Command and Staff of the U.S. Naval War College and the U.S. Air Force Air War College. He is a member of the John Carroll University ROTC Hall of Fame. He and his wife, Christi, are both John Carroll University graduates.

Ham's early assignments included service at Fort Knox, Kentucky and tours of duty in Italy and Germany. After graduating from the Armor Officers Advanced Course, he was a Recruiting Area Commander in Lima, Ohio. In 1984, he served with a joint service unit in support of the Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

From 1984 until 1989, Ham served as Assistant Inspector General, then as Battalion S-3 and Executive Officer with the Opposing Force at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California. He attended the College of Naval Command and Staff, graduating with distinction in 1990, and was then assigned to the U.S. Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia.

He served a tour as an advisor with a Saudi Arabian National Guard Brigade in Riyadh as part of OPM-SANG then returned to Fort Benning, where he was the executive officer for the Infantry School. Ham commanded the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry in Vilseck, Germany including a six-month tour with the United Nations Protection Forces in the Republic of Macedonia. Following battalion command, he was the Senior Observer/Controller of the Timberwolf Team at the Combat Maneuver Training Center, Hohenfels, Germany.

He graduated from the Air War College in 1997 then returned to Germany where he served as G-3, then Chief of Staff, 1st Infantry Division. From 1999 to 2001 he commanded the 29th Infantry Regiment at Fort Benning, then served as Deputy Director, J-8, United States Central Command in Tampa, Florida and Qatar. Ham was assigned as the Deputy Commanding General for Training and Readiness, I Corps at Fort Lewis, Wash. in August 2003. In January 2004, he assumed command of Multinational Brigade (Task Force Olympia) – North in Mosul, Iraq serving there until February 2005. During his time in Iraq, Ham suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, which was caused by his attending the aftermath of a deadly suicide bombing at a mess hall. He later sought treatment for his condition and publicly encouraged other soldiers to do the same.[3]

Returning from Iraq, Ham served as the Deputy Director for Regional Operations, J-3, on The Joint Staff. Ham assumed command of the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas in August 2006 and served as the Commanding General until July 2007, returning to The Joint Staff as Director for Operations, J-3. On August 28, 2008, Ham became the 34th Commander of the United States Army Europe headquartered at Campbell Barracks, Heidelberg, Germany. In 2010, General Ham served as co-chair for the comprehensive review of issues associated with the repeal of the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.[4]

The U.S. Senate, in November 2010, confirmed Ham's nomination to become the next Commander of U.S. Africa Command, headquartered at Kelley Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany.[5] He assumed the post on March 8, 2011.

Ham was in command of U.S. forces enforcing the Libyan no-fly zone, along with Admiral Samuel J. Locklear.[citation needed] Described as "in charge of the coalition effort", Ham on March 21, 2011 said, "there would be coalition airstrikes on Colonel Qaddafi’s mobile air defenses and that some 80 sorties – only half of them by the United States – had been flown on Monday." [6] Admiral Locklear, aboard the flagship Mount Whitney, had tactical command of the Operation Odyssey Dawn joint taskforce.[7] General Ham also said he had “full authority to attack the regime’s forces if they refused to comply with President Obama’s demands that they pull back from Ajdabiya, Misrata and Zawiya," according to one report.[who?] Earlier, he said that the United States was not working with the Libyan rebels. “Our mission is not to support any opposition forces,” Ham said by video feed to the Pentagon from his headquarters in Stuttgart.[6]

After a normal 24-month tour of duty[8] as Commander, U.S. Africa Command, General Ham was succeeded by General David M. Rodriguez.[9] General Ham retired in June 2013.[4]


Ham was quoted in an online Washington Post article by Greg Miller and Craig Whitlock, posted on October 1, 2012, that, as saying, that, as a result of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb's overtaking and capturing more territory in Mali in Africa, and possessing arms from Libya after the Libyan Civil War which overthrew Muammar Gaddafi, there is the possibility of the U.S. assisting, but not leading, counterterrorism operations done by other countries. A more radical step would be the use of drones.[10]

While speaking about the Chinese presence that was "everywhere" in Africa, Ham expressed an appreciation for the economic competition between China and the U.S. in Africa, observing that China was "very good at infrastructure development -- roads, bridges, airports, government buildings and the like -- constructed by the Chinese in -- which greatly benefits the African people."[11]

Dates of commissioned service rank

Second lieutenant (O-1)* First lieutenant (O-2)* Captain (O-3)* Major (O-4)* Lieutenant colonel (O-5)*
US Army O1 shoulderboard rotated.svg US Army O2 shoulderboard rotated.svg US Army O3 shoulderboard rotated.svg US Army O4 shoulderboard rotated.svg US Army O5 shoulderboard rotated.svg
June 2, 1976 June 2, 1978 August 1, 1980 June 1, 1987 September 1, 1992
Colonel (O-6)* Brigadier general (O-7)* Major general (O-8)* Lieutenant general (O-9*) General (O-10)*
US Army O6 shoulderboard rotated.svg US Army O7 shoulderboard rotated.svg US Army O8 shoulderboard rotated.svg US Army O9 shoulderboard rotated.svg US Army O10 shoulderboard rotated.svg
April 1, 1998 October 1, 2003 February 1, 2005 August 1, 2007 August 1, 2008

* The O-1, etc. designates the pay grade.

Major duty assignments

Training Officer, II Reserve Officer Training Corps Region, 4th Basic Combat Training Brigade 1976
Section Leader, Combat Support Company, 1st Battalion, 509th Infantry (Airborne Combat Team) 1977–1978
S-1 (Personnel), 2d Battalion, 22d Infantry, 4th Infantry Division 1978–1979
Commander, C Company, 2d Battalion, 22d Infantry, 8th Infantry Division 1979–1981
Student, Armor Officer Advanced Course 1981–1982
Lima Area Commander, Columbus District Recruiting Command 1982–1984
Detachment Commander, Forward Military Support Element, 1984 Summer Olympics 1984
Assistant Inspector General, National Training Center 1984–1986
S-3 (Air), 6th Battalion (Mechanized), 31st Infantry 1986–1987
Executive Officer, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 52d Infantry 1987–1989
Student, College of Naval Command and Staff, U.S. Naval War College 1989–1990
Executive Officer, United States Army Infantry School 1990–1993
Commander, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division 1993–1995
Senior Task Force Observer/Controller, Operations Group, Combat Maneuver Training Center 1995–1996
Student, United States Air Force Air War College 1996–1997
Chief of Staff, 1st Infantry Division 1997–1999
Commander, Infantry Training Support Brigade, 29th Infantry Regiment 1999–2001
Deputy Director, J-8, United States Central Command 2001–2003
Deputy Commanding General for Training and Readiness, U.S. I Corps 2003–2004
Commander, MNB North (Task Force Olympia) (Mosul, Iraq) 2004–2005
Deputy Director for Regional Operations, J-3, The Joint Staff 2005–2006
Commander, 1st Infantry Division 2006–2007
Director for Operations (J-3), The Joint Staff 2007–2008
Commanding General, U.S. Army, Europe and Seventh Army 2008–2011
Commander, United States Africa Command 2011–2013

Decorations and badges

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Distinguished Service Medal (with one bronze oak leaf cluster)
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Defense Superior Service Medal (with two oak leaf clusters)
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit (with oak leaf cluster)
Bronze Star Medal
Silver oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal (with silver oak leaf cluster)
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Commendation Medal (with two oak leaf clusters)
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Achievement Medal (with two oak leaf clusters)
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Joint Meritorious Unit Award (with three oak leaf clusters)
Meritorious Unit Commendation
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Superior Unit Award (with oak leaf cluster)
Bronze star
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal (with two bronze service stars)
Bronze star
Southwest Asia Service Medal (with service star)
Bronze star
Bronze star
Iraq Campaign Medal (with two service stars)
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Armed Forces Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Award numeral 3.png Overseas Service Ribbon (with award numeral 3)
United Nations Medal
Polish Army Medal in Gold[12]
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)
Combat Action Badge.svg Combat Action Badge
Expert Infantry Badge.svg Expert Infantryman Badge
USA Parachutist.png Basic Parachutist Badge (United States)
Ranger Tab.svg Ranger Tab
Joint Chiefs of Staff seal.svg Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
75px United States Africa Command Badge
ICorpsCSIB.jpg I Corps Combat Service Identification Badge
6 Infantry Regiment DUI.png 6th US Infantry Regiment Distinctive Unit Insignia
ArmyOSB.jpg 4 Overseas Service Bars.


  1. "S.Hrg 111-896 Nominations before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Second Session, 111th Congress" (PDF). March 23 .. November 18, 2010. Check date values in: |date= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Seasoned combat leader takes over Africa Command
  3. Brook, Tom Vanden (November 25, 2008). "General's story puts focus on stress stemming from combat". USA Today. Gannett Co., Inc. Retrieved February 7, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "General (Retired) Carter F. Ham". Response Systems to Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel (RSP), United States Department of Defense. 7 November 2013. Archived from the original on 12 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "General Carter F. Ham: Commanding General, U.S. Army Europe (biography)" (PDF). U.S. Army Europe. February 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 January 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Bumiller, Elisabeth, and Kareem Fahim, "U.S.-Led Assault Nears Goal in Libya", The New York Times, March 21, 2011 (March 22, 2011 p. A1 NY ed.). Earlier web version titled: "Qaddafi Forces Hold Strategic Town as Allied Attacks Continue." Retrieved 2011-03-21.
  7. MacAskill, Ewen, and Nick Hopkins, “Libyan operation hampered by confusion and dispute: Lack of resolution over who will take control of military operation tests patience of US”, The Guardian 21 March 2011 18.59 GMT. Retrieved 2011-03-21.
  8. Scarborough, Rowan (7 November 2012). "Head of Africa Command not forced out". The Washington Times. Archived from the original on 8 November 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "General Carter F. Ham, Former Commander (March 2011 - April 2013)". U.S. Africa Command. 24 July 2013. Archived from the original on 1 September 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Miller, Greg; Whitlock, Craig (October 1, 2012). "White House secret meetings examine al-Qaeda threat in North Africa". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "General Ham at the Chatham House, London". Africom.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Generał Carter F. Ham w Polsce (photo) –

External links