By Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. John F. CampbellAugust 28, 2013
Good afternoon. On behalf of Gen. Ray Odierno, our 38th Chief of Staff of the Army, I am honored to have the opportunity to participate in this ceremony.
Today, we pay tribute to an American who placed himself in the thick of the fight -- again and again and again. In so doing, he has earned our nation's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor. Yesterday, for a brief, national moment, a warrior was held up to the American people as an example of the embodiment of our highest ideals, and President Obama said he was "the essence of true heroism." We are extraordinarily proud of this hero -- Staff Sergeant Ty Carter.
Thank you all for attending the ceremony to pay tribute to Staff Sergeant Ty Carter as he joins the ranks of America's greatest heroes. The Hall of Heroes stands adjacent to the main entrance to the Pentagon and is hallowed ground reserved to memorialize our nation's warriors who have demonstrated conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty. As the first of three speakers, I have the distinct honor to welcome our distinguished guests; Honorable Ashton B. Carter, deputy secretary of Defense; Honorable Joseph W. Weshphal, the under secretary of the Army, fellow flag officers and SESes, and Sergeant Major of the Army Ray Chandler. A special welcome to Staff Sergeant Carter's family: his wife Shannon and their three children Jayden, Madison, and Sehara; his mother and father, Paula and Mark Carter; his step mother, Barbara Carter; his mother-in-law, Barbara Derby and husband Roy Biener; and his sister Amber Carter. This family's love and devotion undoubtedly contributed to the strength that Ty displayed at Combat Outpost Keating. Welcome to Washington, D.C., and the Pentagon. I hope you enjoy your time here.
I would also like to recognize the Medal of Honor recipients who have joined us here today. As the president mentioned yesterday this is the first time in nearly half a century -- since Vietnam -- we have had two surviving Medal of Honor recipients from the same battle, and is further evidence of the intensity of the fight at COP Keating.
General George C. Marshall, said of medals, "It is impossible for the nation to compensate for the services of a fighting man. There is no pay scale that is high enough to buy the services of a single Soldier even during a few minutes of the agony of combat, the physical miseries of the campaign." Well, Staff Sergeant Ty Carter and the men of Blacknight Troop, 3d Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division endured the agony of combat for over twelve hours. They lost eight of their brothers, and this medal cannot compensate for the sacrifice of these brave men.
Will the men of Blacknight Troop, 3-61 Cav. please stand to be recognized? Thank you for your service.
Of course we will never forget the service of the eight soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice on that fateful day. We remember: Pfc. Kevin Thomson, Sergeant Michael Scusa, Sergeant Joshua Kirk, Sergeant Christopher Griffin, Staff Sergeant Justin Gallegos, Staff Sergeant Vernon Martin, Sergeant Joshua Hardt, and Specialist Stephan Mace. We also remember Private Edward Faulkner Jr., who died after returning from Afghanistan and enduring a difficult struggle with post-traumatic stress. Thank you to the Gold Star Families who are here today. The strength of our nation is our Army, the strength of our Army is our Soldiers, and the strength of our Soldiers is our families.
I said I would talk of the battle. By now you all know this incredible tale. The president recounted it in detail yesterday. On October 3rd, 2009, Staff Sergeant Ty Carter awoke to a previously unseen volume of fire coming from the high ground surrounding the COP, a remote outpost occupied by the 53 men of Black Knight Troop. Only this morning was different, as an estimated 300 Taliban fighters fired recoilless rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars, machine guns and small arms at the COP. Staff Sergeant Carter's responsibility that day was to support the guard positions, and in this capacity he twice sprinted through a barrage of fire to resupply ammunition and to fight alongside his desperately outnumbered comrades. He moved into the open a third and fourth time to rescue a critically wounded teammate, render first aid, and carry him to safety. He again moved through withering fire to check on a fellow Soldier and to secure a radio that later proved critical to saving the isolated team. He fought fearlessly and inspired those around him throughout that brutal day of combat.
As the president noted, this battle and these men represent one of the most highly decorated units of the entire war -- 37 Army Commendation Medals, 27 Purple Hearts, 18 Bronze Stars for valor, and nine Silver Stars for gallantry -- and now two Medals of Honor.
Staff Sergeant Carter's gallant actions were those of a man, a Soldier, who was physically and mentally strong and well prepared for combat. He elevated the needs of his team and nation above his own safety. His great humility and love for his fellow Soldiers are the hallmark of a true hero. When he heard he was going to receive the Medal of Honor, Staff Sergeant Carter said, "It didn't even faze me. When you have lost family, you just don't think about it." He just felt sad, remembering the sacrifice his brothers made. For Staff Sergeant Carter, it was never about the glory, it was about his buddies, his fellow warriors.
Ty Carter has endured multiple combat tours and all of the challenges associated with recovering from those experiences. The extraordinary resiliency and strength both sergeant Carter and his wife Shannon have displayed in overcoming psychological wounds further demonstrates the great value of team Carter to this nation. Staff Sergeant Carter calls Shannon his foundation and the reason he serves, and she has played an essential role helping him recover from the trauma of combat. Thank you Shannon, for your service. You too are a true patriot.
Staff Sergeant Carter, I want to thank you for your service and bravery. Your commitment to your fellow Soldiers, for your gallantry in battle, and your resilience in recovering. You are a living example, a reminder to America that there are heroes, modern heroes, who live and walk among us -- heroes who are still fighting and dying to protect us every day. By honoring you, we honor those who fought and died by your side, those who fight today to defend American values, and our sons and daughters who will defend our great nation in battles yet to come. We remain as part of something special -- the greatest army in the world -- and because of men like Staff Sergeant Ty Carter will always remain Army Strong!