During 2019, Freedoms Foundation and the Friends of the Medal of Honor Grove are paying tribute to the living recipients of the Medal of Honor on the anniversary of the actions for which they earned the nation’s highest award for valor. The series continues with Specialist Ty Carter, the second Medal of Honor recipient involved with the attack on Combat Outpost Keating in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, on Oct. 3, 2009.
Ty Carter’s Medal of Honor citation reads:
“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Specialist Ty M. Carter distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Scout with Bravo Troop, 3d Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Kamdesh District, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on October 3, 2009.
“On that morning, Specialist Carter and his comrades awakened to an attack of an estimated 300 enemy fighters occupying the high ground on all four sides of Combat Outpost Keating, employing concentrated fire from recoilless rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, anti-aircraft machine guns, mortars, and small-arms fire. Specialist Carter reinforced a forward battle position, ran twice through a 100-meter gauntlet of enemy fire to resupply ammunition and voluntarily remained there to defend the isolated position.
“Armed with only an M4 carbine rifle, Specialist Carter placed accurate, deadly fire on the enemy, beating back the assault force and preventing the position from being overrun, over the course of several hours. With complete disregard for his own safety and in spite of his own wounds, he ran through a hail of enemy rocket-propelled grenade and machine-gun fire to rescue a critically wounded comrade who had been pinned down in an exposed position. Specialist Carter rendered life-extending first aid and carried the Soldier to cover.
“On his own initiative, Specialist Carter again maneuvered through enemy fire to check on a fallen Soldier and recovered the squad’s radio, which allowed them to coordinate their evacuation with fellow Soldiers. With teammates providing covering fire, Specialist Carter assisted in moving the wounded Soldier 100 meters through withering enemy fire to the aid station and before returning to the fight.
“Specialist Carter’s heroic actions and tactical skill were critical to the defense of Combat Outpost Keating, preventing the enemy from capturing the position and saving the lives of his fellow Soldiers. Specialist Ty M. Carter’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Bravo Troop, 3d Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division and the United States Army.”
Carter was awarded the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama on Aug. 26, 2013. Three years later, during an interview, he talked about his work after the Army as an educational and motivational speaker, which often includes speaking about the battle at Combat Outpost Keating.
“By speaking and telling the story, it’s a therapy for me. It helps me through my stress and it also chips away from the survivor’s guilt I have. At that position, out of the eight, five were either killed or mortally wounded, so when you watch that and you know what happened all around you, you know what these guys did to help save you, you feel like you have to tell people what these guys did. It’s never a ‘have to,’ it’s always a choice. …
” … most people when they get up to speak, they have a presentation to make or they’re trying to sell something, and it’s them representing themselves, but once you’re a recipient and you put the medal on, you’re standing up and speaking and you’re representing not only the military, but you’re also representing the Medal of Honor society and foundation.
“But most importantly, the greatest fear comes from the fact that you represent the men who fought next to you, and died next to you, trying to save your life and you do everything you can not to dishonor their memory, and especially not to dishonor or disrespect the families that were left behind … The only difference between myself and the men I fought with that day is that I am burdened with the medal and that I survived. So it’s completely and totally nerve-racking, but it’s also very necessary to, I guess, educate people. That’s the best way I can say it. …
” … in the end, it’s more of the unit story. If it wasn’t for the guys on the other side of the compound we would have been overrun; if it wasn’t for us, we would have been overrun; if wasn’t for the aviation units coming in when they did, we would have been overrun.
“All I know is I tell the story of what happened from my eyes.”
Read about Clint Romesha, who received a Medal of Honor for the same battle, here.
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