Staff Sgt. Ty Carter, 33, became the fifth living recipient of the nation’s highest award when Barack Obama pinned the Medal of Honour around his neck Monday afternoon.
“I don’t think it’s for me,” he told The Spokesman-Review when the award was initially announced in July. “It’s for everybody in the unit who sacrificed and held their own, the soldiers that gave their lives for us to be here today. They and their families deserve it.”
The day at Combat Outpost Keating was one to remember, or one to forget, depending on who’s doing the talking. So far, the fighting there has produced two Medal of Honour recipients.
On Oct. 3, 2009, Carter was one of 54 members of B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment defending Outpost Keating in Nuristan Province. Shortly before 6 a.m., the remote base was rocked with blistering enemy machine gun and rocket fire. More than 400 fighters were attempting to overrun the base.
Then-Specialist Carter sprinted across open ground to join his fellow soldiers on the perimeter, then ran back again to gather up necessary supplies despite withering enemy fire. Later, Carter noticed his fellow soldier Specialist Stephan L. Mace was wounded.
While Larson provided cover fire from within a nearby Humvee, Carter stanched Mace’s bleeding and placed a tourniquet on his shattered leg.
He realised he couldn’t carry Mace while he had his weapon. He returned to the Humvee and told Larson his plan. Larson got out of the Humvee and provided cover fire while Carter returned to Mace, picked him up and carried him through the hail of bullets back to the Humvee, and went back to firing.
During the 12-hour long battle, Carter continued to give medical aid to Mace, engage the enemy, and communicate with his fellow soldiers to retake the base. According to the Army’s official narrative of the battle, “Carter’s remarkable acts of heroism and skill, which were vital to the defence of COP Keating, exemplify what it means to be an American hero.”
Carter first joined the military in 1998, enlisting in the Marine Corps and serving until 2002. After some time attending college and travelling, he enlisted in the Army in 2008, and continues to serve on active duty.
He joins fellow Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha as the second recipient of the Medal of Honour for the battle at COP Keating.
According to a Reuters report on the ceremony, Carter said he was eager to represent those who had suffered as a result of the war.
“Only those closest to me can see the scars that come from seeing good men take their last breath,” he told reporters.
“It is absolutely critical for us to work with brave young men like Ty to put an end to any stigma that keeps more folks from seeking help,” said Obama, according to the Reuters report.
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