President Barack Obama announced July 26 that Army SSgt. Ty Michael Carter will receive the Medal of Honor next month for his “conspicuous gallantry” in Afghanistan.
Carter will receive the nation’s highest award for valor Aug. 26, 2013, for his defense of Combat Outpost Keating, in a remote mountain valley of Nuristan province in western Afghanistan. During a battle which raged for more than six hours, Carter was instrumental in keeping the southern flank of the outpost from being overrun Oct. 3, 2009, by an enemy that outnumbered the Americans almost eight to one.
The 54 members of B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, were attacked by more than 400 enemy fighters with heavy automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, known as RPGs, firing from high ground surrounding the outpost. The enemy infiltrated two areas of the combat outpost, known as a COP, killing eight U.S. soldiers and injuring more than 25.
Carter, who was a specialist at the time, ran a gauntlet of enemy fire to resupply ammo to fighting positions. He picked off numerous enemy with his sharpshooting and risked his life to carry an injured Soldier to cover, despite his own injuries from RPG rounds.
Carter will be the fifth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. He’s also the second Soldier to receive the award for the defense of COP Keating, sometimes called the Battle of Kamdesh. Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha received the Medal of Honor Feb. 11, 2013, for defending the northern side of the outpost.
Carter’s platoon sergeant at COP Keating said he was extremely proud of the actions of his Soldiers that day and not too surprised when he heard about the second Medal of Honor.
“I was pleasantly surprised, but I wasn’t shocked,” said retired 1st Sgt. Jonathan G. Hill. “In my heart I knew deep down inside that it was going to happen eventually, because knowing what he (Carter) went through and knowing the extraordinary circumstances that he and everyone else had faced, there was no way that something like this could be passed up. I couldn’t be prouder.”
Carter and his family will join the president at the White House for the Medal of Honor ceremony.
Carter was born in Washington state and claims Antioch, Calif., as his home of record, despite growing up in Spokane, Wash. He is married to Shannon Carter and they have three children: Jayden Young, Madison Carter and Sehara Carter.
Carter enlisted in the Army in January 2008 as a cavalry scout, after serving in the Marine Corps. After completing training at Fort Knox, Ky., he was assigned to 3-61 Cavalry, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, where he deployed to Afghanistan from May 2009 to May 2010.
In Oct 2010, he was assigned as a Stryker gunner with 8-1 Cavalry, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. He completed a second deployment to Afghanistan in October 2012. He is currently stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and is assigned to the 7th Infantry Division.
Carter’s military decorations include: the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Navy Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the NCO Professional Development Ribbon with numeral 2, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Combat Action Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge and the Air Assault Badge. He has also earned the Valorous Unit Award and the Meritorious Unit Commendation.