Today, President Obama presented the Medal of Honor to Army Staff Sgt. Ty M. Carter.
For this is a historic day — the first time in nearly half a century, since the Vietnam War, that we’ve been able to present the Medal of Honor to two survivors of the same battle. Indeed, when we paid tribute to Clint Romesha earlier this year, we recalled how he and his team provided the cover that allowed three wounded Americans — pinned down in a Humvee — to make their escape. The Medal we present today, the soldier that we honor — Ty Carter — is the story of what happened in that Humvee. It’s the story of what our troops do for each other.
Carter was one of 53 American soldiers who woke up the morning of October 9, 2009 as the outpost where they were stationed — one of the most remote and vulnerable in Afghanistan – came under attack by more than 300 Taliban fighters.
President Obama told the story of Carter's actions in battle that day, which he called the "essence of true heroism – ‘not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.’”
Ty jumped out of bed, put on his boots and his helmet and his Kevlar vest, grabbed some ammo and he ran — into bullets coming down like rain, for a hundred meters — to resupply his comrades out in that Humvee. When they needed more, he ran back, blasted the locks off supply rooms and sprinted yet again — dodging explosions, darting between craters — back to the Humvee.
The ferocious fire forced them inside. And so it was that five American soldiers — including Ty and Specialist Stephan Mace — found themselves trapped in that Humvee, the tires flat, RPGs pouring in, peppering them with shrapnel, threatening to break through the armor of their vehicle. And, worst of all, Taliban fighters were penetrating the camp. The choice, it seemed, was simple — stay and die, or make a run for it.
So once more, Ty stepped out into the barrage, and along with Sergeant Brad Larson, he laid down fire, providing cover for the other three — including Stephan — as they dashed for safety. But in those hellish moments, one man went down, and then another. And Stephan disappeared into the dust and smoke.