A true American hero gets his due today. Fort Carson soldier Staff Sgt. Ty Carter will receive the Medal of Honor for his bravery, valor, and combat gallantry in Afghanistan.
My local newspaper, the Colorado Springs Gazette, spotlighted his inspiring story this weekend. He served in the Marines before joining the Army:
In January 2008, he reported to Fort Carson and the 3rd Squadron of the 61st Cavalry Regiment, part of the 4th Brigade Combat Team. The unit traces its lineage to World War II, where its soldiers earned a pair of Presidential Unit Citations in combat in North Africa and Europe. The Carson soldiers had recently returned from bloody fighting in Baghdad. “At first, I was an outcast because of my Marine Corps background,” Carter said. The squadron trained at Fort Carson, Pinon Canyon and Fort Polk, La., to get ready for Afghanistan.
In the fall of 2009, Carter’s unit came under attack.
Oct. 9, 2009, was the bloodiest day for Fort Carson soldiers since the Vietnam War. It was the day that put Carter and comrade Clinton Romesha, a former Carson staff sergeant, into the history books.
Taliban fighters, who knew of American plans to close Keating, massed in a nearby village. The Taliban launched an attack at sunrise. More than 300 insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades, assault rifles, heavy machine guns and mortars raked Keating, which was defended by a shorthanded B Troop and a crew of Afghan soldiers who quickly quit the fight. It was the Taliban’s largest operation since the famed battle of Tora Bora, eight years earlier.
Carter was in the barracks when the gunfire hit and roused himself to join comrades 100 yards away. That meant sprinting across open ground and through bullets and shrapnel – something he’d be doing all day. At least he was dressed for it.
“I was in a tan shirt and PT shorts,” Carter said. His first job was to supply machine gunners. Carter ran through fire and shot the locks off the ammunition storage facility to grab what was needed…The battle raged for hours.
Carter ran through enemy fire to try and save a comrade.
“Knowing that he would almost certainly be killed, and with no regard for his personal safety, Carter jumped from the truck and sprinted forward to Mace,” the Army’s nomination for Carter’s Medal of Honor reads.
“With small-arms fire riddling the Humvee and the ground around him, Carter stanched Mace’s bleeding and placed a tourniquet on his shattered leg. With enemy fire intensifying around him, Carter summoned the strength to lift Mace and carried him through the hail of bullets up to the rise and to the Humvee.”
Carter doesn’t recall feeling like Superman when he made his dash for Mace. He was a little fatalistic, “When it’s my time to go, I’m going to be the biggest pain in the butt for the enemy.” He was certainly single-minded.
“All I could think about was getting to Mace,” Carter said. Despite Carter’s heroics, Mace died. So did seven other B Troop soldiers.
With so much celebrity worship saturating the culture, it’s a refreshing relief to see a real hero honored. Thank you for your service, Staff Sgt. Carter. And God bless all our men and women in uniform risking their lives to defend our freedoms.
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