elkintribune.com

Deceased 68 years, soldier gets proper burial

By Anthony Gonzalez agonzalez@civitasmedia.com

March 28, 2014

ROARING RIVER — World War II veteran Carlton Francis Wooten, who died on April 4, 1946, will finally have a military burial this Saturday, announced his family.


The military ceremony will be conducted at the Roaring River Methodist Church on W.O. Blackburn Road at 2 p.m. The VFW of Yadkinville will be conducting the military funeral. The ceremony is open to the public.


Roy Wooten, 57, of Ronda said the ceremony is in recognition of his uncle who never received a military burial despite being a combat-seasoned soldier. The ceremony also carries out a promise made to Roy’s brother, Charles Wooten, a deceased Vietnam War veteran who spearheaded efforts to recognize Carlton’s service and burial rights.


“My brother worked tirelessly on proving to military officials about our uncle. He gave this issue to me when he was sick because he knew I would see it through,” said Roy Wooten.


According to the Wooten family, Carlton F. Wooten of Roaring River was born Feb. 23, 1918. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on Oct. 21, 1941, at the age of 23. He was assigned to the USS Yorktown CV5 as a gunner. He served the first seven months of his enlistment in which he participated in the battle of the Coral Sea (May 4-8, 1942) and the battle of Midway (June 4-7, 1942), a battle resulting in the sinking of five Japanese aircraft carriers, but the USS Yorktown was lost to Japanese torpedoes and sank at Midway.


Carlton was listed among the survivors.


According to the Wooten family, Carlton was then transferred to the USS West Virginia on June 17, 1942. His transfer papers had written about the battles Carlton had engaged on the Yorktown: “Your participation in the engagements has reflected great credit upon yourself and the Naval service.”


On Feb. 6, 1943, Carlton was transferred to US Naval Hospital in Mare Island, Calif., where he stayed for treatment complaining with headaches and nervousness. Carlton was honorably discharged on July 12, 1943. The family said that Carlton suffered from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), a conditional formally referenced as battle fatigue or war shock.


“Unfortunately the term PTSD was not part of the treatment plan at that time, though his (Carlton’s) records indicated that the psychoneurosis was aggravated by his service. There was no follow up after his discharge. Carlton died in the VA Hospital in Johnson City, Tenn., on April 4, 1946. No military honors were given and no formal markers were placed at his grave,” said Roy Wooten.


“Headstones and markers are inscribed with the name of the deceased, the years of birth and death, and branch of service,” said the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.


Anthony Gonzalez may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @newsgonz.