WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Barack Obama recognized a soldier’s struggles on and off the battlefield Monday when he presented the Medal of Honor to Army Staff Sgt. Ty Carter, a native of Spokane who is stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Carter received the top combat valor medal for demonstrating “the urge to serve others at whatever cost” when his combat station in Afghanistan came under attack, Obama said.
The October 2009 assault on Combat Outpost Keating by some 300 Taliban fighters left eight Americans dead, many wounded and “almost everyone was left with deep invisible wounds to their hearts and to their minds,” Carter said after the White House ceremony.
“Only those closest to me can see the scars that come from seeing good men take their last breath,” he said.
A second soldier, Army Staff Sgt. Clint Romesha, in February was presented with the Medal of Honor for his role in that battle. Two living soldiers have not been presented the medal for the same battle in nearly 50 years.
Now, Carter is an advocate for other veterans suffering from the invisible wounds of war, including post-traumatic stress disorder.
Obama recounted Carter’s acts of bravery, then said it is “absolutely critical for us to work with brave young men like Ty to put an end to any stigma that keeps more folks from seeking help.”
The president noted the “blizzard of bullets and steel into which Ty ran, not once or twice, or even a few times, but perhaps 10 times, and in doing so he displayed the essence of true heroism.”
Carter planned to show his family around the Washington, D.C., monuments, Obama said. But “if you want to know what makes our country truly great, if you want to know what a true American hero looks like,” he told Carter’s young children at the ceremony, “you don’t have to look too far. You just have to look at your dad because today he’s the sight we’ve come to see.”