Medal of Honor recipient Ty Carter, the 33-year-old U.S. Army staff sergeant who risked his life during a 2009 fire fight in a remote mountain outpost in Afghanistan, is to be presented with the nation's highest military honor by President Barack Obama on Monday at the White House.
Carter is the fifth service member to be awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions in the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan.
In a prior interview with NPR Morning Edition's Renee Montagne, Carter discussed
the fire fight and the subsequent pain he experienced having lost eight of his fellow soldiers during the engagement, in which the Army was heavily outnumbered.
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"I would never tell any soldier or service member, 'Hey, go out and get the Medal of Honor,' because of the amount of pain and loss and tears that has to be shed in order to receive it," Carter told NPR.
During the fire fight, Carter, in addition to killing several enemy fighters, risked his own life providing first aid to wounded soldiers and ammunition to others who were still able to fight off the enemy, while he and his fellow service members were pinned down by a barrage of enemy fire, the sergeant recalled.
"It was as if somebody kicked an ant hill," Carter said. "The bullets, the rockets, the mortars, everything, a wall of spikes — they're pointing at you."
At the time of the engagement, Carter was a specialist with the Army's Black Knight Troop stationed at Command Outpost Keating.
The outpost was subsequently described as extremely vulnerable, being surrounded by three steep mountains in an area of the country that has since been abandoned by the U.S. military.
Though he was honored for being recognized for his bravery, Carter added in the interview: "Even though this award is an awesome honor and a great privilege, in order to get such a prestigious award, you have to be in a situation where your soldiers, your family, your brothers, are suffering and dying around you. And then, you just did everything you could to save lives or prevent further loss."
Of the "53 members of B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, who defended the position, eight soldiers were killed, and more than 25 were injured," the Army told NPR.
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