Medal of Honor Recipient Ty Michael Carter Recalls Hours-Long Afghanistan Fight
The Army staff sergeant now assigned to 7th Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord spoke to the media with wife Sharon by his side.
He couldn't succumb to the fear. He couldn't be afraid to die, not when so many of his fellow soldiers were depending on him.
Carter - who was serving as a calvary scout with the 4th Infantry Division’s Bravo Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team - helped his fellow soldiers endure a six-hour battle when enemy fighters attempted to overrun Combat Outpost Keating using heavy small-arms fire and indirect fire Oct. 3, 2009 in the Kamdesh district of Afghanistan’s Nuristan province.
Carter resupplied ammunition to fighting positions throughout the battle, provided first aid to a battle buddy, killed enemy troops and risked his life to save a fellow soldier who was injured and pinned down by overwhelming enemy fire.
For his actions, Carter, 33, will receive the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama during an Aug. 26 ceremony at the White House. He will become the fifth living Medal of Honor recipient for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.
"A long time ago, I told myself that if I was ever placed in a combat situation that I wouldn’t let fear make my choices for me," he told a group of reporters during a press conference Monday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. "Inside, all I thought about was supporting the men in that position."
In all, eight men from his group died that day, and 25 more suffered injuries, including Carter, who sustained hearing loss, shrapnel to the body and a concussion.
On Monday, with wife Sharon holding his hand, he described the harrowing things he witnessed four years ago. He also spoke honestly about his struggles with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and thinking about the soldiers who died that day.
"I feel that I owe them so much," the Spokane native said of those soldiers' families. "I feel embarrassed to be in their presence because they have lost so much."
He said he is undergoing counseling to be a better husband to Sharon and father to his three children: Jayden, 14, Madison, 8, and Sehara, who's eight months old.
"I am truly honored to be here and to be by his side," his wife said. "I could never wrapped my mind around it, the severity of what they’ve been through."
Ty Carter - who's now assigned to 7th Infantry Division at JBLM - said he wants to work with the Warrior Transition Battalion to help other soldiers cope with PTSD and other behavioral health issues.
"There’s still a lot of stigma behind it," Carter said. "The Army treats it like it’s a combat wound because it is a combat wound. It's something that needs time to heal. The best way to do that is to utilize the facilities the Army has provided."
We've uploaded a video of today's conference above.