Remembering Maj. Gen. Carroll LeTellier, The Citadel Class of 1949

Maj. Gen. Carroll LeTellier U.S. Army photo

Engineering great with life-long Citadel and Charleston ties exemplified principled leadership

Charleston native, accomplished engineer and Citadel Class of 1949 alumnus, Maj. Gen. Carroll LeTellier, is being remembered for his service to the nation, his career, and for his life-long devotion to his alma mater. He passed away at the age of 90 on March 27, in Charleston.

“Maj. Gen. Carroll LeTellier is revered by The Citadel community,” said Gen. Glenn M. Walters, USMC (Ret.), president of The Citadel. “He served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for almost three decades, was known for his engineering designs and direction related to major projects around the nation including the Ravenel Bridge in Charleston, and served in numerous capacities as a leader on campus. He will be greatly missed.”

LeTellier’s leadership in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

LeTellier began serving in the Army Corps of Engineers after his graduation from The Citadel where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. He went on to earn a Master’s of Science in Civil Engineering from MIT.

During his 27 years with the Army, he was deployed overseas six times including during three conflicts in Korea, Lebanon and Vietnam (twice). Additionally, LeTellier served as district engineer in St Louis, and as division engineer in Atlanta. He led groups responsible for projects including the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway, numerous dams and floodwalls, and oversaw the military construction program for the Southeastern United States.

LeTellier earned the Distinguished Service Medal, and five awards each of the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, and the Air Medal. His military education included the Advanced Engineer Officer’s Course, the Command and General Staff College, the Armed Forces Staff College, the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and The Navy War College.

Engineering feats after the Army

Major General Carroll Letellier
Major General Carroll Letellier 2013

After retiring as a major general in 1976, LeTellier became Vice President of Sverdrup Corporation, which later became Jacobs. In this role, he oversaw the design and construction or upgrades for both physical and technical security for 44 U. S. embassies around the world. LeTellier was involved in the Fort McHenry Tunnel, the upgrade of the Northeast Rail Corridor from Washington to New York for high-speed trains, and several subway stations. He directed the engineering of the Santee-Cooper Re-diversion Canal and Power Plant, and in his final four years before retiring, created the preliminary designs for the cable-stayed Ravenel Bridge over the Cooper River in Charleston.

“Following his retirement, Maj. Gen. LeTellier was involved in the design and construction of the Holliday Alumni Center and Hollings Hall at The Citadel, in addition to serving as head of civil engineering,” said Col. Ron Welch, US Army (Ret.), Ph.D., dean for The Citadel School of Engineering. “He served on the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Advisory Council since its inception in 1996 and the School of Engineering Advisory Board for 9 years. His devotion to our program was tireless, as was his father’s, Louis S. LeTellier.”

LeTellier earned an honorary degree in civil engineering and the Palmetto Medal from The Citadel. He was named Alumnus of the Year in 1998 by The Citadel alumni Association. In addition, LeTellier was a life member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Society of American Military Engineers and was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 2003.

LeTellier Family Legacy at The Citadel

Carroll LeTellier was one of four family members to graduate from, attend, or serve The Citadel.

Louis LeTellier, The Citadel
Louis LeTellier, The Citadel

Louis S. LeTellier, Carroll’s father, joined the college’s faculty in 1908, later becoming the head of the Department of Civil Engineering. He served as Acting President of The Citadel in 1953 upon the retirement of Gen. Charles P. Summerall, transitioning to Dean of the College after Gen. Mark Clark became president. LeTellier Hall, constructed in 1937, is named for Louis and still houses The Citadel School of Engineering. Created in his name, the Col. Louis Shephard LeTellier Award is presented to the senior cadet attaining the highest academic grade point average in civil engineering every spring.

Louis S. LeTellier Jr., who graduated with The Citadel Class of 1948, was Carroll’s brother and is now deceased. His son, Louis LeTellier III, Carroll’s nephew, graduated as a member of The Citadel Class of 1976.

LeTellier and his departed wife, Frances Melsheimer LeTellier, were married 63 years and had four children. Their sons Francis R. LeTellier and Carroll N. LeTellier Jr., and their daughter, Norma Louise, preceded them in death. Their daughter Mary C. LeTellier, of Charleston, survives them.

Devoted alumnus

LeTellier touched the lives of many in The Citadel community during his decades of dedication to his alma mater.

“One could look a lifetime and never find a man that more fully embodied the characteristics The Citadel’s principled leadership mission demand of its graduates than Major General Carroll LeTellier. A true patriot and warrior in all aspects of his life, his passing will be a great loss to the college and the community at large.

Carroll was a faithful, loving husband and father, a stellar Army officer, and an accomplished business executive but also, the most ardent of supporters for The Citadel and The Citadel Alumni Association. His vison, leadership and determination has helped insure the success of both for decades to come. The Holiday Alumni Center and Hollings Hall stand as a memorial to this selfless and untiring devotion to these institutions. The Citadel family will grieve the loss of Carroll and wish him only fair winds and following seas as this last chapter of his life closes.”

Rick Raybon, Controller, The Citadel Alumni Association

“Carroll was literally born into The Citadel Family, raised on The Citadel campus, and faithfully followed his family’s Citadel traditions. His optimism in the face of great suffering and his humility, considering his talent and accomplishments were his hallmarks.  He landed in the Pusan Perimeter within a month of North Korea’s 1950 invasion and led a black engineering unit in the Korean War with colorblind leadership.

Carroll was a two-star general with a solid chance to be the Army’s chief of engineering and wear a third star when he was stricken with cancer. Still, he lived 44 years more and outlived his two peer generals who did achieve the Army billet he might have had.”

Lt. Col. Fred Whittle, USMC (Ret.), Citadel Class of 1980, former president of The Citadel Alumni Association, Honorary Doctor of Commerce