Lt. Col. Anthony Carter grew up in a military and law enforcement family, so enlisting in the United States Air Force at age 17 and serving as a security policeman seemed like a natural step. Carter believes law enforcement and serving others is his calling, and he’s been lucky enough to enjoy both through military and civilian careers.
Carter was honored for his military contributions on Sept. 25 during the OU vs. West Virginia home football game when he was named the OU College of Professional and Continuing Studies Patriot of the Game. As a 2013 graduate of the college’s Master of Arts in Administrative Leadership (now Organizational Leadership) program, the honor held special meaning for Carter.
Achieving a dream
“I’ve been a die-hard OU fan since my father was stationed at Tinker Air Force Base in December 1981. I always wanted to attend OU, but at the time I separated from active duty, I was living in Ft. Worth. I ended up attending the University of North Texas for my undergraduate degree,” he said. “Obtaining a degree from OU had always been on my bucket list, so in 2006, while stationed with the Drug Enforcement Administration in Nicosia, Cyprus, I learned about OU’s online master’s degree program.
“I’m so happy that my family was able to be on the field and honored with me, simply because even though the military member is the one serving, it’s the family that endures the separations and carries on the routine of daily living. Families sacrifice just as much as the military member. So, for that reason, I told everyone that my family and I were recognized as the Patriot of the Game for our military service.”
“As much as I enjoyed law enforcement and the military, I knew earning a leadership degree would open more opportunities for me as every organization has a leadership component,” he added. “Using my military leadership skills along with my OU degree, I’m now coaching CEOs and chairing a CEO peer advisory group.”
Carter said he wouldn’t have been able to achieve his dream of earning a degree from OU without the online program. Being able to take classes online at his own pace was a key component to his success.
“While taking classes, I had so many competing interests for my time. My three kids were young, we were living in Cypress, my job required me to travel to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Spain, Denmark, India, the United Arab Emirates and several trips to the United States,” he said. “In 2008, we were transferred to the U.S.-Mexican border in Arizona, where I was promoted to a supervisory special agent. After work and after coaching each of my kids in their sports, I would stay up until 2 or 3 a.m. nearly every night working on papers. I was able to work on my classes regardless of where I was located, with the exception of when I was deployed to Afghanistan.”
A life of service
Since enlisting in 1986, Carter has taken his skills and passion for serving his country and community from the Air Force to the Army and back. He’s served in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and as a counterintelligence officer while serving in Afghanistan. Carter is retired from the Drug Enforcement Administration, where he served as an assistant special agent in charge, and he’s worked as an assistant chief deputy with the Collin County Sheriff’s Office in McKinney, Texas. He holds a state of Texas master police officer certificate.
Currently, he is commander of the 301st Security Forces Squadron, Joint Reserve Base Naval Air Station, in Fort Worth, Texas. His duties include leading a team of more than 140 military police.
“Our purpose is to train to deploy wherever our nation needs us to go,” Carter said. “In addition to performing law enforcement and security operations, security forces are the infantry for the Air Force. We receive extensive training in ground combat.”
Carter was nominated for Patriot of the Game by his wife, Lorri. He said he was both shocked and humbled when he learned he’d been chosen.
“I was in Florida on my two-week military duty when Lorri called to tell me I had been selected,” Carter said. “I laughed and said that was a funny joke. She then began telling me she had spoken with Ryan Rasnick from Sooner Sports about the process and what we needed to do. Lorri is creative, but not creative enough to make up something like that.
An experience of a lifetime
“The experience of standing in front of so many OU fans was surreal. From the initial notification all the way until we sat in our seats, the PACS and Sooner Sports Properties staff were absolutely welcoming and phenomenal,” he added. “My family – Lorri, Averi, Garrett and Alexis – attended the game with me. My daughter, Averi, is a senior at OU, so it was really special for her to be standing on the field being recognized for our military service in front of her friends and colleagues.”
Carter said it was equally special for himself, as several of his OU classmates, high school and junior high school classmates, and former military coworkers were in the stands. It was also an honor to have his family there with him.
“I’m so happy that my family was able to be on the field and honored with me, simply because even though the military member is the one serving, it’s the family that endures the separations and carries on the routine of daily living,” he said. “Families sacrifice just as much as the military member. So, for that reason, I told everyone that my family and I were recognized as the Patriot of the Game for our military service.”
Carter plans to retire from the military next year with a combined total of 36 years of public and military service. He said he will continue to use his leadership degree in all he does, and he will treasure the memory of being named Patriot of the Game by his alma mater and enjoying the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“One of the best parts was being presented the autographed football by Dean Martha Banz, who, at the time of my graduation, was the associate dean,” he said. “She has always been very professional and friendly, so seeing her and her huge smile was the icing on the cake.”
Presented by the OU College of Professional and Continuing Studies, Patriot of the Game honors military service members at home football games, as well as various men’s and women’s basketball games, baseball games and softball games.
Patriot of the Game is just one of many ways the college serves military families. PACS is a leader in military education with more than 55 years of experience supporting the educational needs of service members worldwide. PACS brings the excellence of OU degrees and programs to students, wherever they may be. Visit our website for more information on our degrees and our offerings for service members.
Do you know someone who deserves to be Patriot of the Game? To nominate a service member, visit patriot.pacs.ou.edu and tell us why.