Army Staff Sergeant Ty Carter received the Medal of Honor on Monday — the United States’ highest honor a person in the military can receive.
The Medal of Honor was presented to Carter by President Barack Obama for his part in one of the most intense battles of the war in Afghanistan.
The incident happened on October 3, 2009, at Combat Outpost Keating, reports CBS News. The intense fighting pitted 53 Americans against almost 30 insurgents.
Despite being unarmed, Carter went out to rescue a fellow soldier, carrying the wounded man through a hail of bullets to safety. In the end, eight Americans were killed and 22 were wounded.
Carter was also wounded in the battle. But despite his injury, he was still able to provide accurate fire against enemy combatants form a guard post. He also carried Spc. Stephan L. Mace to safety, putting down his weapon and facing open fire to do so.
It is the second time Obama presented a Medal of Honor to a servicemember who participated in that battle. Earlier this year, the president awarded the medal to Clinton Romesha, notes USA Today. The former Army staff sergeant lead the defense of the plywood-and-concrete outpost.
The medal ceremony marked the first time since Vietnam that two living recipients were awarded the Medal of Honor for their part in the same battle. President Obama stated during the ceremony that Ty Carter ran across a field of bullets, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars, and sniper fire up to 10 times. He delivered ammo, recovered a field radio, and rescued Mace.
And when he wasn’t dodging bullets across the outpost, he and another soldier made a stand in an armored vehicle, one of the last defensive posts in the embattled outpost. Surrounded by their dead and wounded comrades, the pair shot and killed several enemy fighters as they breached the walls.
Carter was humble about his acts of heroism, commenting, “When good men are dying all around you, you have to decide what your last moments are going to be like. Are you going to die behind something, or are you going to die standing and fighting? Are you going to die pushing forward or falling back?”
Ty Carter chose to stand and fight, and lived to tell the tale. During the Medal of Honor ceremony, Carter took time to honor another soldier, Ed Faulkner Jr., who fought beside him in the 2009 battle. Faulkner died of a fatal overdose of methadone and Xanax in September 2010.