By CourtesyAugust 22, 2013
By Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza
7th Infantry Division
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - By now, most of you have heard about the White House announcement that one of your own Joint Base Lewis-McChord Soldiers, Staff Sgt. Ty M. Carter, is to receive the Medal of Honor by our Commander in Chief, President Barack Obama, in a ceremony on Aug. 26.
Carter was serving as a cavalry scout with B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, during combat operations in Kamdesh District, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, on Oct. 3, 2009. Carter proved himself time and time again as he resupplied ammunition to fighting positions, provided first aid to a battle buddy, killed enemy troops, and valiantly risked his own life to save a fellow Soldier who was injured and pinned down by overwhelming enemy fire; these are actions of a resilient Soldier.
Resilient Soldiers are the Soldiers of today's Army. The same courageous actions and intestinal fortitude Carter, and those Medal of Honor recipients who have come before him, displayed that day should be emulated by all Soldiers, deployed or back at their home station.
As a Soldier, and as a leader, it is an understatement to say how proud I am of his actions at Combat Outpost Keating. But if you have read about the battle, or heard Carter speak of that day, you will know that as nearly 400 Taliban fighters attempted to overrun the COP it took a team to thwart the attack.
That should come as no surprise.
In the Army's 238 years, no war has ever been fought alone. No war has ever been won alone.
In fact, during a 2010 interview about his actions in 2007, Medal of Honor recipient former Staff Sgt. Salvatore "Sal" Giunta said, "I have never gone to war alone. I have never been in a firefight alone and I have never felt alone in the Army ... The only reason I was able to do what I did is because (other guys) were doing everything they could do."
There are leaders who have stood out, and there are Soldiers who have stood up. They have done so in humid jungles, on steep mountains, in scorching deserts and in narrow valleys, all in the name of the Constitution they swore to support and defend, and they have done so as a team.
Those teams are not built in days, or in weeks, or in months but, rather, over time. The foundation of that team is trust. Trust is the bedrock of our profession.
I echo the sentiment of Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the 38th U.S. Army Chief of Staff, when he says that trust between Soldiers means having complete faith in the person to your left and right, knowing they will be there for you when you need them and demonstrating you will be there for them.
Trust encompasses the total Army - Soldier and family.
The Army Profession Handbook outlines this trust between Soldiers, their families and the Army; it means understanding the missions always comes first, the Army always takes care of its own and it means believing "once a Soldier, always a Soldier."
But how can we build trust within our ranks and within our Army family? By caring.
We must care about our Soldiers. We must care about their families. There are no rank stipulations when it comes to genuine care and concern about the person to the right and left of you. Knowing your Soldiers is essential to being able to teach them, train them, and mentor them. At the end of the week, across the Army, leaders step in front of the formation and tell their Soldiers to stay out of trouble, to call when they need to, and to "do the right thing." But I challenge you to look deep within yourself and ask "Do my Soldiers - my peers, my battle buddies - truly trust me enough to call me in a time of need?"
That answer should, undoubtedly, be yes. Because, as we have seen with Giunta, Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry, Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha - who also received the Medal of Honor for actions during the same battle at COP Keating - and, now, Carter, your buddies should never have to think twice about calling on you. We are a Team of Teams, and I cannot emphasize enough that the way to build a team of Army professionals is through care and trust.