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About R.C. Cartwright (con't)


................He remained in Vietnam until 1971, when he became the third black promoted to Brigadier General after General Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. and General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. Awards during this time include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, National Defense Medal, Korean Service Medal and Vietnam Service Medal among others honors and decorations.


In the meantime, the steadfast pursuit of a college degree was completed through a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State College in June 1960. Further studies included computer training and courses towards a Masters in Business Administration. Perhaps this vocation instilled a strong value in General Cartwright as he continually stressed education regardless of a military commitment. At West Virginia College, he taught Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) for 3 years where he was posthumously inducted into their ROTC Hall of Fame in 1992. In Vietnam, General Cartwright installed an education and information office, created a library and initiated college courses taught by accredited teachers serving under his command.


Such leadership and determination could not be contained to the battlefields. General Cartwright applied his managerial and business skills to positions as Chief of the Management Division in Post Headquarters, Comptroller of the Seventh Army Training Center, Chief of the Budget and Five Year Defense Program, Comptroller Deputy Chief of Staff at the Army headquarters in Europe and comptroller duties at the Pentagon. He retired from the Army in 1974.


Another important duty was to nurture young officers in their ascendancy through the military ranks. To this end, General Cartwright was influential in shaping a loose network of black officers nicknamed the Blue Geese. On October 9, 1974, along with Colonel Robert B. Burke, General Cartwright led an initiative to formally organize the growing network into what became temporarily known as the No Name Club until they agreed on an official name. Shortly thereafter, on December 1st, the No Name Club was assembled to vote on a name when they received the news that General Cartwright and his wife had died in a plane crash that day.


Even his tragic death would not interrupt the spirit of nurturing and commitment embodied by General Cartwright as it became his legacy. The No Name Club soon voted to name itself The ROCKs, Inc. and establish the Roscoe C. Cartwright Scholarship Fund in their namesake’s honor. This influence spread far and wide in the military as The ROCKS, Inc. currently boast over a dozen affiliations and over 1200 worldwide members including former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin L. Powell. One member, General Roy Bell, described General Cartwright as one who would “take you under his wing” and help young officers make important connections and choose the right path as he did when General Bell was a young officer.


Outside of the military, General Cartwright was a 33rd degree Prince Hall Mason. His former lodge in Oxen Hill, Maryland, is now known as the Roscoe C. Cartwright Prince Hall Masonic Lodge #129. Additionally, he was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. which named him Alpha of the Year in 1971.


Besides the four children, his biological legacy includes eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. The gravesite is located in Arlington National Cemetery near the John F. Kennedy gravesite.