President Obama presented Army Staff Sgt. Ty Carter with the nation's highest military honor Monday for actions in 2009 in Afghanistan that included providing emergency first aid to a wounded soldier and carrying him off the battlefield while under Taliban fire.
About 200 people, including Sgt. Carter's wife Shannon and their three children, as well as soldiers who served with him in Afghanistan, attended the White House ceremony, where he became the fifth living Iraq/Afghanistan veteran to receive the Medal of Honor.
"If you want to know what a true American hero looks like, you don't have to look far. Just look at your dad," Mr. Obama said to Sgt. Carter's children, Jayden, Madison and Sehara. "Your dad inspires us just like all those big monuments do."
On Oct. 3, 2009, Sgt. Carter was serving on a yearlong deployment as a cavalry scout with the 4th Infantry Division in Nuristan province. Taliban fighters surrounded Combat Outpost Keating and breached the border of the compound, attacking American and Afghan army troops with rifles, heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, the citation says.
Sgt. Carter repeatedly sprinted through enemy fire to resupply troops with ammunition and provided accurate cover fire even after being wounded, the citation says. He also administered emergency first aid to Spc. Stephan Mace and carried him to safety, though Spc. Mace later died of his wounds after being transferred to Bagram Airfield.
During his speech, Mr. Obama talked about the importance of eliminating the stigma of post-traumatic stress disorder in the military. Sgt. Carter, who suffered from flashbacks, nightmares and guilt about the death of his fellow soldier, has been vocal about his struggle with post-traumatic stress since the incident. He was quoted in an Army news release earlier this month about how hard it was for him to go to counseling and about how the flashbacks are almost gone now.
"To any of our troops or veterans who are watching and struggling, look at this man. Look at this soldier. Look at this warrior. He's as tough as they come," Mr. Obama said. "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."
After serving for four years in the Marine Corps, Sgt. Carter enlisted in the Army in 2008, according to his official biography. He currently is serving as a staff noncommissioned officer with the 7th Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.
He has also received a Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters, representing multiple awards, and the Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters, his bio says.
Sgt. Carter is the 12th service member to receive the military's highest award for valor in combat for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
Sgt. Clinton Romesha, who served at the Keating outpost with Sgt. Carter and other members of Bravo Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, received the Medal of Honor in February for his involvement in the same October 2009 action, which he also survived.
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