General Carter F. Ham served as an enlisted Infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division before attending John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. He was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant through the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (Army ROTC) in the Infantry as a Distinguished Military Graduate in 1976. He later received his master's degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island as well as graduating from several military schools including the Infantry Officer Basic Course, the Armor Officer Advanced Course, the College of Naval Command and Staff of the U.S. Naval War College and the U.S. Air Force Air War College. He is a member of the John Carroll University ROTC Hall of Fame. He was born in Portland, Oregon and he and his wife, Christi, are both John Carroll University graduates.
General Ham's early assignments included service at Fort Knox, Ky. and tours of duty in Italy and Germany. After graduating from the Armor Officers Advanced Course, he was a Recruiting Area Commander in Lima, Ohio. In 1984, he served with a joint service unit in support of the Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
From 1984 until 1989, General Ham served as Assistant Inspector General, then as Battalion S-3 and Executive Officer with the Opposing Force at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif. He attended the Naval College of Command and Staff, graduating with distinction in 1990, and was then assigned to the US Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Ga.
He served a tour as an advisor with a Saudi Arabian National Guard Brigade in Riyadh then returned to Fort Benning, where he was the executive officer for the Infantry School. General Ham commanded the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry in Vilseck, Germany including a six month tour with the United Nations Protection Forces in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Following battalion command, he was the Senior Observer/Controller of the Timberwolf Team at the Combat Maneuver Training Center, Hohenfels, Germany.
He graduated from the Air War College in 1997 then returned to Germany where he served as G3 then Chief of Staff, 1st Infantry Division. From 1999 to 2001 he commanded the 29th Infantry Regiment at Fort Benning then was assigned to United States Central Command serving in Tampa, Fla. and in Qatar. General Ham was assigned as the Deputy Commanding General for Training and Readiness, I Corps at Fort Lewis, Wash. in August 2003. In January 2004, he assumed command of Multinational Brigade - North in Mosul, Iraq serving there until February 2005.
Returning from Iraq, General Ham served as the Deputy Director for Regional Operations on The Joint Staff. General Ham assumed command of the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kan. in August 2006 and served as the Commanding General until July 2007. He most recently served as the Director for Operations, J3, The Joint Staff.