JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (July 30, 2013) — The room hummed with the steady clicks of camera shutters as Staff Sgt. Ty Michael Carter and his wife, Shannon, were the center of attention during a press conference at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., July 29.
Carter will receive the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama during a ceremony at the White House, Aug. 26, for his courageous actions while deployed to the Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, in October 2009. He was a cavalry scout assigned to 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, out of Fort Carson, Colo., during his first of two deployments to Afghanistan.
On Oct. 3, 2009, more than 400 anti-Afghan forces attempted to take over Combat Outpost Keating. Carter, who was a specialist at the time, and his fellow Soldiers defended the small combat outpost against rocket-propelled grenades and heavy weapons fire coming from the surrounding hills. Of the 54 members who defended the position, eight Soldiers were killed and more than 25 were injured.
During the more than six-hour battle, Carter found himself resupplying Soldiers with ammunition, providing first aid, killing enemy combatants and risking his own life to save that of his fellow Soldier, Spc. Stephan L. Mace, who was wounded and pinned down under enemy fire, according to Carter’s award narrative.
“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,” said Carter, during the press conference. “Inside, all I thought about was supporting the men in that position. When Mace was down it was hard to think about anything else but doing what I could to get to him.”
While being recommended for the Medal of Honor was a surprise, Carter shared that receiving this medal was the last thing on his mind after he redeployed.
“I was going through some difficulties then and I was so concerned about the men we lost and friends that it didn’t even faze me,” said Carter, a native of Antioch, Calif. “I don’t want to put down the Medal of Honor and what it means, but when you have lost family, it’s not what you are thinking about. I just felt loss.”
Carter hopes that while being in the spotlight as a Medal of Honor recipient, he will also focus on post-traumatic stress, and bring more awareness to those who struggle with it daily.
“I want to try and get rid of the stigma of post-traumatic stress, because there are a lot of Soldiers out there who have it, and are ashamed to talk about it or get help,” said Carter. “With my experience with it, I can take a Soldier and just talk one-on-one and explain to him that it is not going to be easy, and it will take awhile. But you will improve and you will do a lot better. You just need to go get the help you need.”
Carter, who is currently assigned to the Secretary to the General Staff, 7th Infantry Division, concluded the conference saying that he was very nervous to go to the White House but meeting the commander in chief will truly be an honor.