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Crusader 08-26-2013 01:01 AM

Soldier who ‘sucked at being a civilian’ earns Medal of Honor
When war hero Ty Carter goes to the White House Monday, he’ll do so with a heavy heart while still battling the demons from the day that earned him the military’s highest achievement for valor.

“The reality of the award is that I wouldn’t wish it on anybody,” Carter told Yahoo News. “Imagine yourself in the worst possible situation you can think of. We’re talking about you’ve got members of your family being killed in front of you or in severe pain and you have no choice but to try to help them.”

President Barack Obama will present Army Staff Sgt. Carter the Medal of Honor for the gallantry shown on Oct. 3, 2009, when he faced death multiple times to assist comrades during a fierce firefight with Taliban insurgents. Eight U.S. soldiers were killed when Combat Outpost Keating was ambushed, making it one of the deadliest battles for Americans in the Afghan war. Two dozen more were injured.

A seven-page Army narrative on his heroics details how Carter, then a specialist, sprinted across open fields to fetch ammo for others, killed insurgents and risked his life to recover a mortally wounded comrade who was pinned down by enemy fire and crying out “Help me, please.”

“He did all this while under heavy small arms and indirect fire that lasted more than six hours,” the Army states.

Carter, 33, says he’s never been one to take credit. Instead, he wants the attention to serve as a reminder that “there’s still a war going on and that it isn’t all ‘Call of Duty’ and computer games.”

“This medal represents so much more than me, and it’s my responsibility to give it the honor it deserves,” says Carter, who wears a bracelet on his right wrist bearing the names of the soldiers lost that day.

The battle occurred a year after Carter enlisted in the Army. He had been a Marine from 1998 to 2003, and after that he had bounced from job to job – movie theater manager, tow truck driver and nursing assistant to name a few – before rejoining the military.

“I sucked at being a civilian,” he recalls. “I had a job where I had no real purpose. I was just showing up doing the same thing over and over again.”

He becomes the fifth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. Seven medals have been awarded posthumously.

“I was pleasantly surprised, but I wasn’t shocked,” said retired 1st Sgt. Jonathan G. Hill, who was Carter’s platoon sergeant at the outpost.

“In my heart I knew deep down inside that it was going to happen eventually, because knowing what he went through and knowing the extraordinary circumstances that he and everyone else had faced,” Hill told the Army News Service. “I couldn’t be prouder.”

Carter, now stationed near Seattle, didn’t escape the battle unscathed. He has permanent hearing loss and ringing in his left ear from a grenade blast. Counseling and his family help him cope with the guilt that he couldn’t save more lives.

Alone time to reflect and remember is also therapeutic, he says.

“That helps me get through the day so that I don’t just randomly have a severe flashback to where I’m trying to choke back tears in the middle of a highway driving home,” Carter says. “You have to plan for stuff like that.”

He wants to use his time in the spotlight to encourage fellow service members to also seek behavioral health assistance for post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s an issue he believes would be less of a stigma if it were just called post-traumatic stress.

“When they think of disorder, they think of a chemical imbalance or whatever,” Carter says. “I believe it’s your body and mind’s natural reaction to when something really bad happens. It remembers and helps you remember so that you can avoid the situation. Anxiety, flashbacks, flinching, stuff like that, that’s all your body and mind telling you, ‘Hey something bad happened in the past,’ and it doesn’t want it to happen in the future.”

A military investigation later blamed command failures for putting American troops in a vulnerable position at Keating, an isolated outpost whose closure had been repeatedly delayed. Carter and 52 other soldiers were outnumbered almost 8 to 1 but managed to defend the post from being overrun.

“You can’t make war friendly,” Carter says. “Yes, it was a bad situation. I don’t really hold any ill will. The fact that eight men died, that’s the problem I have. I don’t think that any soldier or any person needs to die for any war. But without the threat of war, there is no peace.”

Soldier who

TheOak 08-26-2013 11:35 AM

Re: Soldier who ‘sucked at being a civilian’ earns Medal of Honor
5 years after.... 5 frikken years.

Crusader 08-27-2013 05:48 AM

Re: Soldier who ‘sucked at being a civilian’ earns Medal of Honor
Here is video of him recieving the medal.

Medal of Honor recipient faced ‘blizzard of bullets’ – CNN Political Ticker - Blogs

SloMotion 08-27-2013 06:05 AM

Re: Soldier who ‘sucked at being a civilian’ earns Medal of Honor

Originally Posted by TheOak (Post 520008)
5 years after.... 5 frikken years.

... you know the deal, it's the bureaucracy ... most guys get that one posthumously anyway ... he didn't do it for the medals. I'm glad they let him back in & let him stay active duty after all that, :mrgreen:.

SapperSaint 08-27-2013 12:31 PM

Re: Soldier who ‘sucked at being a civilian’ earns Medal of Honor
Cheers to him.

Being a combat vet myself; It always makes me shake my head, when I think back before I deployed. Growing up; my father, grand father, and so on; are combat veterans. I used to think as a kid how awesome it would be to be a combat veteran. It was if I could see the glory pouring out of their skin.

Being a combat veteran comes with a price. Not all combat veterans have seen their friends die, been shot at, had an IED blow up under their vehicle, watched helpless as a "ZERO" hits the lower deck of their ship. However, each one has experienced something that they will never forget.

I applaud SSG Carter for speaking about his problems with PTSD.

When I deployed the first time I asked my dad, "What am I about to go into?" He simply said, "Son, I can't explain it but when you get back you will know why I couldn't explain it." It was true. I still can't explain it today.

I hope when people see, people like SSG Carter, that they will look past the medal(s) and see what this man did for his friends and imagine the scars he carries that you can't see.

TheOak 08-27-2013 05:55 PM

Soldier who ‘sucked at being a civilian’ earns Medal of Honor
Combat for those with souls has no glory, and quite often surviving means dying every time they look in a mirror.

We may forget a lot of things that happen in life, but we never forget what we have seen, heard, smelled, or done in combat... It haunts us at red lights when it feels like it, wakes us in our sleep, and occupies out thoughts in the middle of birthday parties.

To have that medal pinned on you means you saw more than anyone's fair share.

QBREES9 08-27-2013 08:08 PM

Re: Soldier who ‘sucked at being a civilian’ earns Medal of Honor
Thank You Staff Sgt. Ty Carter. Thank you.

SapperSaint 08-31-2013 06:47 PM

Re: Soldier who ‘sucked at being a civilian’ earns Medal of Honor
I couldn't have said it any better Oak. Well said brother!

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