Soldier on Afghanistan ambush that earned him Medal of Honor – Brinkwire

Posted: August 28, 2020 at 5:56 am

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The Medal of Honor-winning soldier depicted in chart-topping Orlando Bloom war movie The Outpost has spoken out about his trauma from the bloody battle and the stress that led to his comrades drug overdose death.

Ty Carter, 40, was awarded the militarys highest decoration for bravery in the 2009 battle where 53 US troops at an Afghanistan base fought off almost 400 Taliban fighters.

The soldier described his struggle reliving the fight that took eight of his units lives when he played a cameo role in the Hollywood movie about his experience, in an interview this week with new lifestyle and self-improvement site Mr Feelgood.

OnOctober 3, 2009, Carter woke to the sound of bullets as hundreds of insurgents descended on Combat Outpost Keating, 14 miles from the border with Pakistan.

The Taliban attack had been planned for months and the 4th Infantry Division were outnumbered seven to one.

In the first of a sting of heroic acts during the fierce battle that ensued, the soldier repeatedly ran a 300 ft gauntlet of open ground to resupply his comrades with ammunition.

When he and four others were pinned down in a Humvee under gun and grenade fire, Carters thoughts flashed to his family back in California before he decided to step out the vehicle into the hail of bullets with his fellow infantryman Specialist Stephan Mace to give cover for the others to escape to shelter.

I had a four-year-old daughter. And my brother Seth was shot dead at a party in 2000. So when we were in that Humvee and I looked out there, I saw my brother or my daughter and I felt that I needed to get out there, Carter told Mr Feelgood. I knew I could help, and I knew I would.

Two of the three men were killed in that sprint, and Mace was left wounded on the ground.

Carters sergeant at first refused to let him go back for the injured man shouting Youre no good to him dead over the gunfire and explosions.

But after persuading the officer, Carter dodged rocket propelled grenades and rounds zipping over his head to get to Mace, giving first aid and then carrying him another 300 ft to safety.

Mace was airlifted away for medical treatment, but later succumbed to his wounds.

There was no love lost between Carter and Mace, but the war hero was still left wracked with guilt over his fellow soldiers death.

Stephan Mace and I were not friends, the veteran said. But just because I dont get along great with somebody doesnt mean I dont care about them or value their life.

So I wasnt going out there to save my loved one or my best friend. He was wearing the uniform so was part of my family, so I will do what I need to do.

When you see someone you know can help out there, suffering, it turns your brain to lava and your stomach into acid, and then your limbs turn numb but are full of negative energy. You feel so angry you can hardly breathe.

But as I was running out there I wasnt thinking about the bullets that were hitting all around or the explosions. All I was thinking was that I need to help this person.

And thats one of the reasons I had severe post-traumatic stress because I survived but Mace didnt.

Carter said at first he refused to accept the impact the battle, which killed eight US soldiers and was one of the bloodiest in the Afghan war, had on his mental health, fearing for his career if he was labeled as damaged goods.

When you are going through severe post-traumatic stress you dont actually notice it, he said. Its a complete mental changer you just know youre not feeling quite right, or a little off. But the people around you notice.

I was forced to go into counseling for the next two and a half years. My superiors ordered me to go or they were going to take my rank. I was very resistant at first I was escorted the first time I went to counselling.

The stigma is still out there. If youre in the military and you go to a counselor and you are labelled with PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder], then you may get passed over for rank and you will probably be treated differently. But I would rather be passed over for rank than drink a handle of Jack Daniels and follow it with a .45.

Tragically, one of the Battle of Kamdesh survivors chose the latter.

In September 2010, less than a year after the skirmish, Pvt. Ed Faulkner Jr. died of an overdose on the drugs he had turned to in an attempt to deal with his trauma.

Carter calls Faulkner the ninth victim of the battle, and says his death spurred him to campaign to remove the stigma around seeking help for post-traumatic stress.

We need to just call it what it is: its just stress from the past. Its not a disorder, it is something thats supposed to happen. And as soon as people realize that, they are more likely to talk about it, Carter said.

The 40-year-old father-of-three retired from the military in 2014 a Staff Sergeant, after receiving the Medal of Honor from then President Barack Obama, and now spends his time encouraging military and first responders to seek help for stress.

His medal was given in August 2013, six months after another survivor, Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha, received the same decoration for the battle, making it the only one since the Vietnam War to lead to two Medal of Honor awards.

The war hero said when he was offered a role in The Outpost movie, he took it on as a chance to tackle head on the trauma from the battle that still plagues him.

I helped to make The Outpost and Ive got a little cameo in it, Carter said. They flew me out to Bulgaria and I was there for most of the filming. I assisted the writers with the story since the beginning.

Every time I speak or do a lecture, I am reliving the worst day of my life. By talking about it, or watching The Outpost or the Netflix show, I am forcing myself to relive it so I dont get those nightmares or those flashbacks; so my heartrate doesnt rise every time I hear gunfire.

So every time I am feeling stressed or anxious, I grab a good whiskey and I watch the episode of the Netflix show about my story. The emotions come back sometimes, sometimes they dont, but then it relaxes me.

Its mentally draining, but then Im OK afterwards and I can do my own thing for the next two or three weeks until I start feeling stressed again, and I know thats my subconscious letting me know I need to relive it again. It doesnt work like this for everyone, but this is my process.

The new magazine that interviewed Carter, founded by model John Pearson and journalist Pete Samson, also aims to remove the stigma around men discussing and improving their mental health with inspirational stories, wisdom and pragmatic health advice.

Carters character in the movie was played by Caleb Landry Jones, and other members of his unit by Orlando Bloom, Scott Eastwood, Milo Gibson, and Jack Kesy.

The movie was based on the book The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor by CNN anchor Jake Tapper.

The Outpost was set to premiere at South By Southwest Film Festival this year, but due to the coronavirus pandemic was instead released on demand last month.

The movie spent two weekends as iTunes and AppleTVs top rented film.

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Soldier on Afghanistan ambush that earned him Medal of Honor - Brinkwire

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August 28th, 2020 at 5:56 am

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