The events on a battlefield four years ago will be remembered during a Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House on Monday.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ty Michael Carter earned the nation’s highest military honor for his actions during an ambush in Afghanistan.
He was a specialist at the time and stationed with the Army’s Black Knight Troop at Command Outpost Keating.
Their location was vulnerable — a remote valley surrounded by three steep mountains.
It’s the type of place the military no longer posts troops in Afghanistan, in part, because of what happened on Oct. 3, 2009.
Even though Taliban fighters fired nearly every day, Carter tells Morning Edition host Renee Montagne it was immediately clear something much worse was happening on this day.
It was “as if somebody kicked an ant hill,” he says. “The bullets, the rockets, the mortars, everything, a wall of spikes – they’re pointing at you.”
On that day, the Army says Carter killed enemy troops, resupplied ammunition to American fighters, rendered first aid and risked his own life to save an injured soldier pinned down by a barrage of enemy fire.
Carter says he has mixed emotions about receiving the Medal of Honor.
“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.”
“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.”
President Obama is expected to bestow the Medal of Honor on Staff Sgt. Carter during a White House ceremony at 2 p.m. ET.
Carter will be the fifth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan, according to the White House.