Samantha Carter: Military Career

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Heroes Part 2


Samantha Carter is a brilliant scientist with prodigious engineering skills in addition. She is also a decorated Air Force Officer with many missions to her credit, ranging from piloting to exploration to live combat. When she joined Stargate Command she was a Captain. In her years there she has received two promotions, and she's now a Lt. Colonel.

Education, Training, and Qualifications

Samantha Carter received her Bachelor's degree from the Air Force Academy. She did exceptionally well, setting records with the grades and awards she received. It's likely she majored in physics since Cadet Hailey was following in her footsteps and was studying physics-related subjects (4.19 "Prodigy").

Sometime later, Carter received a doctorate in theoretical astrophysics (1.01 "Children of the Gods"). She worked on the Stargate for two years before the Abydos mission, helping to develop the dialing computer system. Wormhole theory is one of her favourite subjects of conversation, though few people could engage in such talk with her. She also studied nanotechnology at the Pentagon for a year (1.08 "Brief Candle"), and still lectures on theoretical astrophysics at the Air Force Academy on occasion (4.19 "Prodigy").

She was somewhat miffed that the Pentagon would consider Dr. McKay the world's foremost expert on the Stargate after a few years of studying a non-working gate at Area 51, when she had been in on the program since its inception, had travelled through a working gate numerous times, and solved uncounted technical problems during that period (5.14 "48 Hours"). The antagonism between them lessened when he finally admitted that she was a better scientist than he was (6.02 "Redemption Part 2"). Samantha Carter came up with the original idea that led to creating the Intergalactic Gate Bridge in collaboration with Rodney McKay (SGA 3.03 "Irresistable").

In addition to her physics expertise, Sam Carter has frequently been a participant in or leader of complex engineering projects such as developing a UAV for off-world exploration (2.19 "One False Step"), developing a naquadah bomb (4.15 "Chain Reaction"), and repairing an alien vessel (6.18 "Forsaken"). She also has a in-depth knowledge of software systems such as the one that controls the SGC Stargate (5.14 "48 Hours"). Finally, she has medical knowledge and frequently assisted Dr. Janet Fraiser with medical investigations of various kinds, or performed them herself (e.g., 7.11 "Evolution Part 1").

Publically, through Carter's cover story of working for the Air Force's Deep Space Telemetry Program as well as senior consultant for applied technologies has some real basis, she has also been a two time winner of the prestigious Binder prize for advancements in theoretical physics (10.15 "Bounty").

Military Career

While Sam's first love is science, she has made a career of the military, serving in the Air Force for many years, as her father Jacob did before her. While she does not wear wings on her uniform that symbolize pilot status in the Air Force, Carter has flown F-16s, clocking over 100 hours in enemy air space during the Gulf War (1.01 "Children of the Gods"). She has also flown experimental hybrid craft such as the X-302 (6.1 "Redemption Part 1"). She flew with O'Neill in its operational successor the F-302 (7.01 "Fallen Part 1") and later flew one as pilot-in-command with a civilian passenger (8.08 "Covenant"). Initially, Carter dreamed of being an astronaut, but following the Challenger disaster, her plans were interrupted. Her father tried to get her reinstated to the program, but she refused since she was already involved with the Stargate program and visiting other worlds on a regular basis (2.09 "Secrets").

Her first command, undertaken while Col. O'Neill was wounded, was to PXY-887 in search of SG-11 after the other team disappeared while mining trinium on Salish grounds (2.13 "Spirits"). Until becoming commander of SG-1 when both she and O'Neill were promoted, Carter's regular function on her team was that of designated medic and technological expert, though she was of course able to function in a military capacity for reconnaissance, defense, etc. When dealing with alien machines, power sources or other gadgets, it is Carter's job to figure out how they work—or sometimes, how to shut them down. She is also the primary expert when it comes to matters of astronomical data, physics, and math.

Her experience and knowledge has led her to be a highly sought commodity among the military involved in various aspects of the Stargate program. After stepping down from SG-1, she was assigned to Prometheus to perform a mission on deep space reconnaissance (ironically similar to her Cheyenne Mountain cover story of "deep space radar analysis") (9.07 "Ex Deus Machina"). She took a position to be in charge of all research and development out of Area 51 (9.01 "Avalon Part 1" and 9.07 "Ex Deus Machina"). General Landry begged Jack O'Neill for her return, temporarily at least, when there was a crisis with the new Ori enemy (9.06 "Beachhead"). Sam eventually transferred back to the SGC and rejoined her old teammates along with Cameron Mitchell on the reconstituted SG-1 (9.07 "Ex Deus Machina"). Landry had her lead SG-5 when urgent information was needed and SG-1 wasn't available (9.09 "Prototype").

Sam was promoted to a "full bird" colonel. She and Bill Lee assisted Apollo in finding the lost city-ship of Atlantis and helping land the Ancient vessel on a new planet and hooking it back up to the Intergalactic Gate Bridge (SGA 4.02 "Lifeline Part 3"). After Elizabeth Weir became MIA, the IOA decided that with Carter's expertise on replicators and Ancient technology, she should be the new leader of the Atlantis Expedition (SGA 4.03 "Reunion").

During Sam's tenure as commander of Atlantis, the expedition finally defeated the Pegasus Galaxy's version of replicators, stopped the human/Wraith hybrid Michael from taking over, and kept the Wraith scattered (SGA 5.02 "The Seed"). Carter was recalled to the SGC for a review of her year in office--but upon arrival at the SGC, was abruptly informed by Mr. Woolsey that she was being removed from office and replaced by Woolsey himself (SGA 5.01 "Search and Rescue"). Sheppard conjectured she became a victim of her own success, because without the urgent need for military intervention, the IOA put a civilian back in charge (SGA 5.02 "The Seed").

Carter rejoined SG-1 for a mission to the Tok'ra homeworld where they were to witness the removal of the Ba'al symbiote--thus executing the last of the Goa'uld system lords (Stargate: Continuum). She stayed with SG-1 at Stargate Command for almost a year (SGA 5.20 "Enemy at the Gate"). Her latest assignment is to take command of the General Hammond, the latest Daedalus-class vessel in Earth's fleet. It was renamed The Phoenix after Hammond's sudden death.

Saving Earth

Sam Carter has been instrumental in saving Earth from alien invasion or other catastrophe on several occasions:

  • A direct attack, planned by Apophis, was thwarted when Sam, along with SG-1 and Master Bra'tac of the Jaffa, succeeded in blowing up both ships just before their attack on Earth began (2.01 "The Serpent's Lair Part 2"). Carter was presented with the Air Medal for heroism for this mission. The cover story was listed as analysis of deep space radar telemetry (2.09 "Secrets").
  • When the Stargate connected to another Stargate in the grip of a black hole, Sam theorized it was causing a time distortion bubble between the two worlds. She also figured a way to disengage the connection with an explosive charge focused in the gate room, thus preventing Earth from being drawn into the black hole through the Stargate (2.16 "A Matter of Time").
  • Returning home from a mission to find Kheb, the team was sedated by aliens who had duplicated base personnel. Carter and Teal'c were resistant to the sedation, and the two of them managed to get help to fight off the aliens and retake the base before the aliens could take over the planet (3.14 "Foothold").
  • Thor unintentionally brought the Replicators to Earth when they attacked and seized control of his ship, the Biliskner. Summoning Jack aboard for help, the colonel, along with Carter and Teal'c, successfully prevented the Replicators from infecting the planet; however, it took a second try once the alien devices took control of a Russian submarine and killed the crew (3.22 "Nemesis Part 1", 4.01 "Small Victories Part 2").
  • The Goa'uld sent a large meteor with a core of solid naquadah on a collision course for Earth, an attack disguised as a natural disaster to try to circumvent their treaty with the Asgard. SG-1 was sent to blow it up, but upon discovering the core properties and how disastrous exploding it would be, Sam figured a way to use the Tok'ra cargo ship they were using to tow the meteor through the Earth via a hyperspace window (5.17 "Fail Safe").
  • Anubis attacked Earth through the Stargate by using the gate itself as a weapon. Sam figured out how the attack was undertaken, and with Jonas' help, came up with a plan to remove the gate from Earth. Jack successfully towed it into space and sent it through an unstable hyperspace window, so that when it exploded due to an energy overload, it was far distant from the planet (6.01 "Redemption Part 1", 6.02 "Redemption Part 2").
  • With Anubis threatening his final all-out assault on Earth from space, Carter, Daniel, and Teal'c all contributed to helping Jack get back to Antarctica, enabling him to destroy Anubis' forces from space (7.22 "Lost City Part 2").
  • When the replicators, led by Replicator Carter, took on the Goa'uld and threatened to overrun the galaxy and Earth, Carter was key to getting the Ancients' weapon to work, destroying all replicators everywhere in the galaxy (8.17 "Reckoning Part 2").
  • When Ba'al planted a bomb in the Halcyon Tower of Seattle, Washington, it was Sam who realized the entire building was made of naquadah (9.07 "Ex Deus Machina").
  • When Earth was under threat by the Ori, Sam had temporary command of the SGC while General Landry was away. She coordinated defense of the planet with the Pentagon and the F-302 flights, including requesting Colonel Sheppard back from Atlantis to work with the Antarctic chair (SGA 5.20 "Enemy at the Gate").

Saving Others

She has also helped save other races and planets:

  • She helped the Asgard save their homeworld from the Replicators by giving them a "dumb idea"—luring the Replicator ships into hyperspace to follow a new prototype vessel, named in honor of Jack O'Neill, and exploding it once the Replicators were in range of the blast (4.01 "Small Victories").
  • The Asgard once again requested Carter and SG-1's help when their final attempt to contain the Replicators failed. The team was sent in to Othalla, now completely under Replicator control, to repair a time dilation device that would slow the Replicators down and effectively trap them on that planet. Carter repaired the device, but was forced to betray one of the new Replicator androids, Fifth, to comply with Col. O'Neill's orders (6.12 "Unnatural Selection").
  • On the planet K'tau, she attempted to reverse the damaging effect on that world's sun caused by their arrival through the wormhole. The Asgard may have, in fact, restored the sun to its normal state, but that may never be known for certain (5.05 "Red Sky").
  • On P3X-289, Carter discovered that the population's protective dome was losing power, threatening to kill the few remaining inhabitants. She worked with engineer Pallan to understand the functioning of the dome systems and, along with Daniel, convinced him to remove his interface to the Link so that his people would be free to leave for a new life. (7.05 "Revisions").
  • Carter helped Jonas and Kianna to figure out why a large vein of naquadah on Langara was converting itself to deadly naquadria, and it was her idea to set off an explosion to stop the advancement of the naquadria. She helped to pilot the excavator into and out of the deep tunnel required to set the explosives (7.15 "Fallout").
  • When the Ori tried to enter the Milky Way Galaxy through the Stargate at Kallana, Carter returned to the SGC (and Prometheus) with a Mark IX "Gatebuster" warhead to stop them. Though she ultimately failed and unwittingly helped the Ori construct their Supergate, her ideas gave Vala Mal Doran the inspiration to break the Supergate apart (9.06 "Beachhead").
  • She and several of her counterparts worked on a way to return everyone to their appropriate alternate universes. When she discovered one alternate team had done this on purpose, Sam was able to construct a way to reverse the process and send everyone home (9.13 "Ripple Effect").
  • Sam came up with a means to use parts from an F-302 to develop a cloaked EMP missile for the Caledonian Federation to break through the Rand Protectorate's safeguards on Tegalus. By doing so, her team would be able to destroy the then uncontrolled Ori satellite. Her efforts were successful, and the Rand Protectorate's vulnerability made them agree to bargain with the Rand Protectorate. Unfortunately, after SG-1 and the Prometheus crew returned to Earth, talks later broke down, and the planet was apparently destroyed (9.15 "Ethon").
  • With the help of Kvasir of the Asgard, Sam had a way to reprogram the Ori Supergate and have it dial out instead for an indefinite time frame. Unfortunately, her reprogramming was incomplete before the Supergate activated. When Sam was last seen, she was drifting in a spacesuit by the Ori Supergate, watching the warships defeat Earth's fleet and their allies.

Saving Her Team

Carter has also saved the lives of her teammates on multiple occasions, or cared for them, or helped them return to Earth when all hope seemed lost:

  • When the team arrived on P3X-972 searching for Dr. Ernest Littlefield, they discovered that the DHD on the planet was broken. Charging the Stargate with a direct hit from a makeshift lightning rod, Sam was able to figure a way to manually dial the gate (1.11 "Torment of Tantalus").
  • As one of only a few women on the base, Carter was resistant to the pheromone Hathor used to control the men. Carter, Teal'c and the women regained control of the base by force (1.14 "Hathor").
  • When Jack was severely injured, she cared for him while working to dig the DHD out of the ice when the incoming wormhole signal was diverted to a second unknown Stargate in a cave in Antarctica (1.18 "Solitudes").
  • With the schematics provided by Col. O'Neill (while he was under the influence of a repository machine constructed by the Ancients), Carter repaired the DHD so her team could return home. Had the DHD remained broken, Carter and SG-1 would have been cooked by the two suns on P9Q-281 (2.16 "The Fifth Race").
  • Ma'chello took Daniel's body, switching Daniel into his failing form. When the alien inventor mentioned to Sam that he was the only one who could not switch places with Daniel, she got the idea to play "musical chairs" with all those who had been affected by the switching device, and returned everyone to their proper bodies (2.18 "Holiday").
  • She researched applications of the Stargate as a time-travel device after the Abydos mission, but that project was scrubbed. However, once the team was accidentally transported back in time to 1969, Carter's theory and Hammond's note to himself (passed to Sam before the group left the base) helped the team return home to their proper time (2.21 "1969").
  • Carter used her blood to manufacture a treatment for Dr. Frasier, Jack and Teal'c, who had been infected with several of Ma'chello's Goa'uld-eradicating devices (3.04 "Legacy").
  • Carter developed the particle beam generator that burst through the hardened naquadah that prevented the Stargate from opening, eventually enabling Jack to come home (3.17 "A Hundred Days").
  • Carter realized why she and O'Neill had failed the Zatarc test: an incomplete reporting of their feelings, and insisted they re-take the test, thus enabling them to be cleared as Zatarcs and avoid a prolonged induced coma (4.05 "Divide and Conquer").
  • She provided the critical physics and 'gate knowledge necessary to save Teal'c from his trapped state inside the wormhole, contributing to the team-based solution to retrieving him (5.14 "48 Hours").
  • After weeks of fruitless searching, Carter had the sudden realization that O'Neill and Maybourne were stranded on the moon of the planet they disappeared from, enabling them to be rescued (6.15 "Paradise Lost").
  • She made a heartfelt plea to "Arrom" about what a good person and friend he had been; this may have been the deciding factor in convincing him to return with them to Earth and re-take his identity as Dr. Daniel Jackson (7.01 "Fallen Part 1").
  • After exhausting diplomatic channels, Carter found a way past the radio interference problems and established contact with Daniel in the Rand Protectorate, setting the stage for a joint attack so that they could bring him home (8.05 "Icon").
  • When Teal'c was trapped inside a combat simulator that was killing him, Carter was instrumental in using O'Neill's idea and expanding upon it to provide Daniel enough of an advantage to help Teal'c defeat the game (8.06 "Avatar").
  • When Cameron Mitchell was subjected to memory altering technology at the hands of the Galarans, Carter remained by his side, being a source of comfort and observing the procedures to ensure Mitchell underwent no further damage (9.12 "Collateral Damage")
  • When new teammate Cameron Mitchell expressed guilt and concern about revealing the Stargate Program to his dying friend, Samantha comforted him and empathized by mentioning events in her own life. (9.14 "Stronghold")
  • Pinned down and trapped by enemy fire on Ba'al's ha'tak, Sam came up with the idea to program one of the Stargates and dial home to Earth (note: she may have gotten the idea from her team's previous experiences in 2.01 "Serpent's Lair Part 2" and 3.22 "Nemesis"). Apparently she had to program a DHD so that only one of the Stargates in Ba'al's hold would be dialed (9.16 "Off The Grid").
  • At Daniel Jackson's suggestion, Sam came up with a way to send a frequency signal from the Gamma site research outpost, alerting Odyssey of the presence of survivors and helping them hone in on the humans' life signs. After setting up the frequency, Sam joined her teammates outside, expending all her ammunition in an attempt to protect the civilian IOA delegation from the scourge of alien insects threatening their lives. The group was rescued by Odyssey (9.18 "The Scourge").
  • Even as commander of Atlantis, Sam took an action oriented role when members of her expedition were in danger--going out into the field to rescue Sheppard's team from rogue Satedans (4.03 "Reunion"), and a year later, coordinating onsite rescue when several Atlantis teams were trapped in a building collapse (5.02 "Search and Rescue").

Strange and Life-Changing Events

She was duplicated on P3X-989 (Altair), along with the rest of her team. Initially the doubles were forced to remain there, because the station where they were housed provided them with continuous power. If they left, their power supply would steadily diminish over a period of a few hours (1.18 "Tin Man"). However, the artificial Carter created a portable power supply, which would allow them up to 48 hours away from Altair, and they subsequently began going out on "missions." The Carter android was destroyed on P3X-729, known as Juna (4.21 "Double Jeopardy"), along with the rest of the Altair team. She ran out of energy after penetrating a force field to shut down the doors around the real Jack and Sam, protecting them from Jaffa.

This android encounter did not make her more sympathetic to artificial life-forms, however. When SG-1 found the android Reese, Carter had difficulty seeing her as anything but a machine. She wanted to study the technology and was very excited about understanding it, but Reese had no concept that she was anything but alive (5.19 "Menace").

She was duplicated again by the human-form replicator Fifth, although this time her double was quite different from the original and still driven by the basic programming of all replicators to seek out technology that could be used against them and overcome it. However, Carter fell victim to Replicator Carter's shared memories and thought processes, and she was conned by the double into cooperating with her to eliminate Fifth. After Fifth was destroyed, Replicator Carter predictably betrayed Carter and the rest of humanity. Unfortunately Carter did not seem to see her error in judgment, blaming the outcome on her own prior betrayal of Fifth rather than on her gullibility in trusting the replicator's motives (8.11 "Gemini").

Carter's brief experience as host to Tok'ra symbiote Jolinar of Malkshur left permanent physical and mental traces. She retains a protein marker and traces of naquadah in her blood from absorption of the symbiote's body. This physiological change has aided her on many occasions. She can sense the presence of symbiotes, or beings with naquadah in their blood (2.05 "Need", 5.08 "The Tomb"), and can operate a Goa'uld ribbon device (2.06 "Thor's Chariot", 3.02 "Seth") and healing device (3.03 "Fair Game"), though she isn't sure how they work and doesn't always use them correctly (5.21 "Meridian"). Through residual memory flashes, Sam has learned some useful things:

  • Repeated use of the sarcophagus can cause addiction (2.05 "Need") and destroy one's kalach, or soul.
  • Awareness of the Atoneek armbands and how they were supposed to function (4.03 "Upgrades").


Samantha Carter has earned several medals for her heroic actions. Notable among them are:

  • Purple Heart—no doubt she has several of these, due to the number of times she has been wounded in action.
  • Air Medal for Heroism—earned for saving Earth from an attack by Apophis
  • Commendation for regaining control of the base from Hathor, along with Dr. Frasier and a handful of other women, and with the able assistance of Teal'c (1.13 "Hathor").
  • Promoted to Major (3.03 "Fair Game").
  • Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel (8.02 "New Order")
  • Two time winner of the prestigious Binder prize for advancements in theoretical physics (10.15 "Bounty")
  • Promoted to Colonel (SGA 4.02 "Lifeline")

Biography Articles

--Michelle 13:50, 11 Oct 2004 (PDT)