October 3, 2009: a day that will forever stand out in the mind of one brave soldier. More than 300 Taliban swarmed upon 53 U.S. Army troops. Among them was Staff Sgt. Ty Carter.
The sounds of gunshots filled the air, and chaos surrounded the 53 soldiers at Combat Outpost Keating in a dangerous valley of eastern Afghanistan. Carter then saw one of his fellow soldiers hit. Unarmed and unflinching, Carter bounded into action, sprinting across to rescue his downed comrade. He carried his wounded friend over his shoulder to safety through a hail of gunfire.
The shots were raining down upon them from the high mountains that surrounded them. Machine guns, snipers, rocket-propelled grenades, and mortar rounds pummeled the outnumbered Army unit. Carter outran the bedlam of shots coming for him so that he could resupply the men he was fighting next to, knowing how crucial this would be to protect them from the Taliban onslaught.
Carter and another soldier made a last stand in a battered armored vehicle, firing back at the enemy, killing those attempting to breach the outpost walls.
All told, that October day ended with 8 American soldiers dead, and another 25 wounded. His unrelenting bravery in the face of certain tragedy earned Staff Sergeant Carter the Medal of Honor. His next fight came in the form of PTSD.
The soldier that Carter helped to save ultimately died from the wounds he suffered that day. Another man he fought alongside passed away nearly a year later from a fatal drug overdose. Carter was clearly not the only one who was devastated from the traumatic scenes from that day.
“Let me say it as clearly as I can to any of our troops and veterans who are struggling,” said President Obama during the Medal of Honor ceremony. “Look at this man, look at this soldier, look at this warrior. He is as tough as they come and if he can find the courage and strength to not only seek help, but also speak about it … than so can you.”
Carter sought treatment, and acknowledged that PTSD is not an easy fight, but also recognizes that it is also does not have to be a sentence of misery.
DVNF commends Staff Sergeant Ty Carter: not only for his gallantry and undaunted courage in the face of overwhelming odds, but also for his steadfast commitment to lend a needed voice to fellow servicemen suffering from PTSD. Carter’s bravery and selfless sacrifice perpetuate the American spirit in all of us.