Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sgt. Ty Carter discusses character at Lakes High School

By J.M. Simpson on June 5, 2014

The Lakes High School students sat and listened carefully to Staff Sgt. Ty Carter.

A Medal of Honor recipient, Carter talked about his life experiences in pointing out to his young audience the attributes of true character.

"I am no different than you," he began. 

Bringing Carter, who currently serves at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, to Lakes was the idea of Republican State Senator Steve O'Ban.

The majority of students attending acknowledged that they had a family member serving at JBLM.

O'Ban sponsored Senate Resolution 8713 to honor Carter's valor in Afghanistan was instrumental in bringing him to Lakes High School to give the students the opportunity "to meet a genuine hero and to learn from his life experience."

He also pointed out that Carter is the first Medal of Honor recipient to be honored by the legislature.

When Carter spoke, he did not disappoint.

At ease with the students as he paced back and forth across the stage, Carter briefly told them of his service in the Marine Corps and the Army.

Then he turned to his point - the value of character.

"You must understand what you do with your future," Carter stressed.  "You control what you do in your future."

>>> Staff Sgt. Ty Carter, recipient of the Medal of Honor, shakes hands with a Lakes High School student. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

At times he alluded to the Oct. 3, 2009 battle at Combat Outpost (COP) Keating in Afghanistan's Nuristan Province. 

More than 300 insurgents had surrounded the COP and the 53 soldiers stationed there.  Eight soldiers were killed; 25 were wounded, including Carter.

During the fight, Carter engaged enemy troops, resupplied ammunition to his fellow soldiers, rendered first aid and risked his life to save an injured soldier who had been pinned down by barrage of enemy fire.

"You work for and with each other," he explained at one point.  "Everyone has to work together," he added when asked about the fight.

Students soon engaged Carter with questions.  One question addressed an issue of concern to Carter.

Post Traumatic Stress.

"My goal is to remove the D from PTSD," Carter said.  "It's not a disorder. It's a normal human reaction to trauma."

Another question centered the wearing of the Medal of Honor.

Carter's answer is character revealed.

"It is a representation," he began.

"Behind it is every man who fought, behind it are the eight men who died and the Gold Star families.  And every time I make a mistake while wearing the medal I have insulted the memory of those who fought and died."