Members of V.F.W. Snell Post 7186 honor Carl Wilson, center. Photo by Heidi Randhava

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A small ceremony last month at Evanston Township High School honored U.S. Army Sergeant Carl Wilson, the oldest living member of V.F.W. Wm. Snell Post 7186. The commemorative plaque created by members of Snell Post will be permanently displayed on the second floor at ETHS, alongside the larger V.F.W. Wm. Snell Post plaque there. 

Carl Wilson was born in Evanston on June 30, 1913, and after graduating from ETHS, he had a half year of college at Northwestern University.

Just after Veterans Day 2014, Commander Charles Spivey of Snell Post wrote a letter to ETHS Superintendent Eric Witherspoon describing Sgt. Wilson’s Army career and later accomplishments.

“He was inducted into the U.S. Army at Fort Custer, Mich., on June 7, 1943,
and assigned to the newly formed 575th Engineer Company, an all African American unit. This unit fought, cleared debris, and built Allied infrastructure from Okinawa to Pusan, Korea.

“He was promoted to Sergeant and in charge of a section of five dump trucks with 35 drivers and support troops. He was responsible for their safety, combat readiness and maintained personnel records for the group. He served in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations 31, from January 1944 unil January 1946. Mr. Wilson was awarded four Overseas Service Bars, the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon with one Bronze Battle Star, the Good Conduct Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.

“Mr. Wilson is a co-founder and former treasurer of Quinco Manufacturing Company, a multimillion-dollar metal fabrication business. This very successful enterprise produced auto parts and other steel stampings for Ford Motor Company, Chevrolet, International Harvester, Allison, Detroit Diesel and IBM.

“Carl Wilson is an author of ‘Entrepreneurs, Listen!,’ the story of five African American men with a dream to build a successful manufacturing business.”