Carroll Beeler was born on July 24, 1943, in Frisco, Texas. He was commissioned through the Naval Aviation Cadet Program and awarded his pilot wings on June 9, 1965. While flying an F-8 Crusader on a Mig Cap mission over North Vietnam on May 24, 1972, LT Beeler was shot down and taken as a Prisoner of War. At the time of his capture, Beeler was flying with Fighter Squadron 24 off the USS Hancock. After spending 308 days in captivity, he was released during Operation Homecoming on March 28, 1973. Capt Beeler went into the Naval Reserve in 1978 to pursue a career in civilian aviation. He joined McDonnell Douglas in 1983, serving in their flight test program as a senior engineer, lead system safety engineer, flight test engineer, and lead production test pilot. Carroll joined General Electric Aircraft Engines in 1989 as an engineering test pilot. He then joined Sino Swearingen Aircraft Company in 1997, and later became the chief test pilot for the SJ30 aircraft. Beeler retired from the Navy Reserve as a Captain on October 6, 1993. Carroll was flying as a test pilot for Sino Swearingen when he was killed testing the company's SJ30-2 business jet on April 26, 2003. He had over 11,000 hours flying time in military and civilian aircraft, including the SJ30, Boeing 707 and 747, AirBus A300, Cessna 152 and 172, Stearman 220, AgCat G-164, Thrush 600, F-4B/J/N Phantom II, F-8J/K/L Crusader, TA-3 and EKA-3 Skywarrior, A-1E/F/H/J Skyraider, A-4B/C/E/F/T Skyhawk, T-34B Mentor, T-28B/C Trojan, S-2 Tracker, and C-1 Trader. Carroll was survived by his wife Scottie, daughter Lee, and his mother Pauline.
His Bronze Star Medal w/Valor Citation reads:
For meritorious service while interned as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam from May 1972 to March 1973. Under the most adverse of conditions, he never wavered in his devotion and loyalty to the United States and his fellow prisoners. Despite the adversities of confinement, he performed such duties and responsibilities as assigned by superiors and required of the Code of Conduct in an exemplary and highly professional manner. Displaying extraordinary courage, resourcefulness, and dedication throughout this period of imprisonment, he reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces.
The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.