Carl Roberts was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina in 1929. His father and mother worked in a cotton mill. He was one of seven boys and had one sister. Roberts enlisted in the Navy when he was 17-years old and attended basic training in Maryland. He was assigned to the USS Leyte aircraft carrier as a Seaman First Class in the Pacific at the end of the Second World War. He later joined the Army and was stationed in Seoul during the Korean War where he worked in the motor pool, acquiring mechanical skills and learning to drive various vehicles. He received the Victory Medal for service in World War II, the Good Conduct Medal for service in the Korean War, and the Honorable Service button. After leaving the service, he was a sheet metal worker at Beverage Air in Spartanburg. In the 1960’s, Roberts moved to Charleston to work as an automatic transmission mechanic and to begin a family. He married and had three children.
In the spring of 2012, Citadel graduate students in Dr. Lauren Rule Maxwell’s Advanced Composition class conducted oral history interviews with a diverse group of area veterans regarding their military experiences during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. In addition to conducting interviews, the students incorporated the veterans’ stories into a range of writing exercises, including feature articles, which appear online. In organizing the project, Maxwell teamed up with Fred Lesinski of the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston. The digital recordings and transcripts are part of The Citadel Oral History Program Collection at The Citadel Archives & Museum and also will be housed in the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. By capturing these histories, the interviews aim to do justice to the veterans’ stories while paying homage to their legacy and the principled leadership they inspire.Interview transcriptions are intended to reflect the words and sounds of the audio recordings as closely as possible. Even the best transcriptions, however, are imperfect representations of the recordings. For a full discussion of The Citadel Oral History Program's transcription guidelines, consult the program's Web site.