Medal Monday: Honoring Ty Carter
Rank: Staff Sergeant; Specialist at the time of actions described below
Organization: U.S. Army
Company: B Troop, 3rd Squadron
Division: 61st Calvary Regiment
Conflict: War in Afghanistan
Date of Action: 10/3/09
Date of Issue: 08/26/13
Medal Presented By: President Barack Obama
Specialist Ty M. Carter was stationed in the Nuristan Province in Afghanistan at Outpost Keating, one of the most remote and vulnerable outposts situated at the bottom of a valley.
On October 3, 2009, just after dawn, Specialist Carter and his comrades were violently awakened by heavy fire from over 300 Taliban fighters perched on high grounds surrounding their outpost. He quickly responded and ran outside to his fellow soldiers stationed in a Humvee to provide additional supplies and ammunition, dodging incoming sniper fire and rocket-propelled grenades as best as he could.
Through enemy fire, Specialist Carter worked to resupply the Humvee until a fire broke out and he was forced inside the vehicle. He was trapped but refused to allow the Taliban to completely overrun the camp. He rolled the window down just enough to get a clear shot, and shot by shot, he continued to defend the post, pushing the enemy back and holding the line using only one rifle.
Specialist Carter continued to fire until he felt secure enough to rescue a fellow soldier who had been wounded and was pinned down in an exposed area. With complete disregard for his own safety, and despite wounds he sustained, Specialist Carter ran through heavy enemy fire and performed life extending first aid on the wounded solider. Specialist Carter realized he could not carry the wounded soldier back to the cover of the Humvee while carrying his weapons.
Carter left his weapon, and informed his fellow soldiers that he will rely solely on cover fire to take the wounded soldier to the Humvee for cover. Specialist Carter ran unarmed through incoming enemy fire, carrying his fellow wounded solider to safety, coordinated an evacuation and then returned to the fight.
Specialist Carter continues to fight to save lives by speaking at hospitals, gatherings and other events with veterans with the hope that sharing his experience with post-traumatic stress will inspire others to seek help. President Obama credited Specialist Carter for publicly acknowledging his struggle and helping other troops during their recovery. “Let me say it as clearly as I can to any of our troops or veterans who are watching and struggling,” President Obama said during Specialist Carter’s medal ceremony. “Look at this man. Look at this soldier. Look at this warrior. He’s as tough as they come, and if he can find the courage and the strength to not only seek help but also to speak out about it, to take care of himself and to stay strong, then so can you.”
Specialist Carter asserts that post-traumatic stress is a natural reaction that affects all people, at some point, on different levels, and he encourages those experiencing post-traumatic stress to seek help like he did. Specialist Carter has been working to destigmatize seeking professional help for post-traumatic stress by removing the biggest obstacle for those suffering: the ‘disorder’ label. “If we remove the ‘d,’ we can possibly remove the stigma,” said Specialist Carter. “If we remove the stigma, then individuals will be more enticed to seek the help that they require so they can improve the quality of their life.”
Ty Carter is one of nearly 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients whose combat valor and civic heroics will be enshrined in the National Medal of Honor Museum at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant, SC. These heroes deserve a home for their legacy to be shared with the next generations.
As the only military museum to recognize all branches of the armed services, it will highlight the fact that the recipients of our nation’s highest military award not only defended our country, they were instrumental in developing, designing, and enriching it.
The museum will be a vault for the values embodied in the Medal of Honor: courage, sacrifice and patriotism. It will showcase the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation Character Development Program including living histories of over 100 recipients. It will also house the Citizens Heroes Program honoring ordinary citizens who have epitomized the concept of “service above self”.
Americans will walk out of that museum with the conviction that they too can be a hero, inspired by the values of courage and sacrifice that the Medal of Honor recipients used to excel in combat and in civilian life. Learn more at mohmuseum.org.