Obama Issues Medal of Honor to Afghan War Veteran

Army Staff Sgt. Ty Carter honored at the White House for his service in the Middle East.
25:40 | 08/26/13

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Transcript for Obama Issues Medal of Honor to Afghan War Veteran
This is a special room. Report from ABC news. Hello everyone -- Hernandez in here with his ABC news digital special report. You're looking at a live picture of the White House President Obama is about to award American soldier -- harder. The medal of honor for his bravery in the war in Afghanistan. Anxious family members gentlemen here in the United States accompanied by medal of honor introduction the -- -- and tie Carter's staff Sargent. -- -- -- Almighty god -- -- words make cradle but never contain. Mark founding days we've acknowledge -- Providence. And -- -- favor upon a military force dedicated to defending liberty and justice for all. And every generation -- continuous line of shed blood and shared sacrifice. Have borne witness to our nation's first principles of virtue. And patriotism. Say -- god our hearts are touched for the privilege of bestowing distinguished honor -- an American soldier. This action sustained his comrades in battle. As we honor staff sergeant -- Carter for his actions during the battle of candidates. Remind us that this simple yet elegant award an animated by the courage that is born of loyalty to all -- to all his noble and worthy. Reveals the depth of the patriots love and devotion. -- -- -- our nation pauses to modern American soldier. Give thanks for the memories of the men who fought with him that day even as we grieve their loss. We give thanks for the strength of this film way. -- present among us -- god. Increase our -- we -- our hope. And -- -- to be marked by virtue. Honor and patriotism. This we ask -- Prater holy name and. Good afternoon maravent please be serious. Welcome to the White House. Actually I should say welcome back. Have you joined us earlier this here when we. Presented the medal monarchs -- -- -- -- today for his actions in the very same battle that we remember today. Claim could not be here using -- in that. This week -- a cause that is very close to all of our hearts and that's ending homelessness. Among our veterans. But we are honored to welcome back some of the men who bought that day to combat. Outpost Keating. Members. Black -- -- And the gold star families. Of those who gave their lives that day. If these soldiers and families will -- There -- -- Forged in battle. And loss. And love. So today as something of a reunion. And we come together again -- the gratitude and pride to bestow the medal of honor on a second member of this family. Staff sergeant -- As always were joined by may distinguished guests and we welcome you all. To -- focus on our most distinguished guests. More than forty members of ties -- Your parents. Mark -- -- step mom barber. Your wife Shannon. -- you call the CEO of your family. Your wise man I've got the same arrangement. Your beautiful children fourteen year old -- Eight year old Madison. In her new dress and she was telling me about her new room as we walked over here. And not month old Sierra. For whom we will try to make this brief because we don't know how long mature girls -- last. Reporter came just Todd said he was hoping to take his children Ron Washington to show them. The sites and the history. But. If you want to know what a true American hero looks like and you -- have to look too far. Is that look at your day. Because today he's the site we've come to six. You're -- inspires us just like all those big monuments and memorials to. Four this is a historic day. The first time in nearly half a century. Since the Vietnam War. That we've been able to present the medal bomber took two survivors of the same bat. Indeed when we paid tribute to point from Russia earlier this year we were called how he and his team provided to -- that allowed. Three -- wounded Americans pinned down in a humvee to make their escape. The -- we present today. The soldier that we honor -- Carter -- the story. Of what happened in that humvee -- this story of what our troops do for each other. Some you -- were called. -- Keating was. Not just one of the most remote outposts. In Afghanistan. It was also one of the most vulnerable. Normal ground -- in -- valley surrounded by towering mountains. When soldiers like -- arrived they couldn't believe there's that it was like being in a -- Easy targets for enemies in the hills above. And as dawn broke about October morning. -- time most of our troops still in -- amongst the worst fears became real. 53 American soldiers were suddenly surrounded by more than three -- 300. -- -- The outpost was being slammed from every direction. Machine gun fire. Rocket propelled grenades. Mortar. Sniper fire. It was chaos. The blizzard of bullets and steel in which Thailand. Not once or twice for in a few times. But perhaps ten times. And in doing so he displayed the essence of true -- -- -- they're urged to. Surpass all others at whatever cost but -- urged to serve others. At whatever cost. -- jumped out of bed put on his boots and his helmet and his Kevlar vest. -- -- -- and he ran into bullets coming down like rain for a hundred meters to resupply his comrades out -- -- humvee. When they needed more he ran back. Blasted the walks. Off supply routes and sprinted yet again dodging explosions darting between craters back to the -- The ferocious fire forced them inside and so was that five American soldiers including time specialist. -- -- found themselves trapped in that humvee. The tires flat. RPG's pouring in peppering -- with shrapnel threatening to break through the armor of their vehicle. The worst of all tall about fighters were penetrating the camp the choices -- to a simple. Stay and die. -- make a run for. So once more -- stepped up into the garage and along with Sargent Brett Larson he laid on fire providing cover for the other three. Including step -- as they dash for safety. But in those hellish moments one man went down and then another. And -- Disappeared in the dust and smoke. Recommend -- time Brad. Held out for hours. Rolling down the window -- cracked taking a shot over and over holding the line. For banning that outpost from being completely overrun. I would later say we were going to surrender. We're gonna fight to the last round. And then they saw him. There but it. Staff -- on the ground wounded about thirty yards away. In them when the moment was right. -- stepped out again. And random Stefan. Applying a tourniquet to one of his -- band during the other tending to his wounds. Grabbing a tree -- what branch to splinters ankles. And if you're left -- just one image from that day. Let it be this -- Carter bending over picking up Stephan -- cradling him in his arms. And curing him through all those bullets and getting him back to that -- An anti stepped -- again recovering -- radio finally made contact with the rest of the -- And they came up with a plan. As Clinton Romer chair and his team provided cover these three soldiers made their escape time -- caring staff -- on a stretcher through the chaos delivering -- into the medics. The battle will still not -- It's -- -- return to the fort. Much of the outpost on fire the flames bearing down on the aid station was so many wounded and -- -- stepped out one last time exposing himself to enemy fire. Grabbed a chain -- cut down a burning tree saved the aid station and help to rally is true since they fought yard by -- they push the enemy back. For soldiers retook their -- -- service. This -- not -- along. -- -- that day he will say was one team and one fight and everyone did what we could do to keep each other a lot. Some of these men are with us again. And I have to repeat this because -- among the most highly decorated units of this entire war. 37. Army commendation -- 47 purple hearts. A team bronze stars. For their -- Nine silver stars. For their gallantry. Soldiers -- could -- please stand. Today we also remember once more create extraordinary soldiers who gave their last full measure of devotion. Some of whom spent the final moments trying to rescue time the others in that humvee. And we stand with the families. Who remind us how far that heartbreak reports. Five wives. Widows who honor their husbands. Seven boys and girls to honor their dead. At least seventeen parents. Mothers and fathers step moms -- step -- water there some. Some eighteen siblings -- honor their -- Long after this war is over these families will still made our love and support. For all your succumb and I would ask the cop -- feminist stand and be recognized for its. Finally. As we honor ties -- on the battlefield. I want recognizes. His perch in the other battle. He has -- -- has spoken openly. Would honestly an extraordinary eloquence. About his struggle with posttraumatic stress. The flashbacks. And nightmares anxiety. The heart -- that makes it sometimes almost impossible to get through -- day. And he is urged us to remember another soldier from talking -- suffered two -- -- losses. On wife back home. And who we remember today for his service in Afghanistan that day private Ed Faulkner during. At first -- a lot of troops. -- resistance seeking help. But with the support of the army the encouragement. Of his commanders and most importantly -- love. Shannon and the kids I got help. The pain of that day. I think -- understands. We can only imagine may never fully -- But -- stands for forces loving husband a devoted father. An exemplary soldier we've been redeployed to Afghanistan. So now he wants to help other troops in the wrong recovery. And it is absolutely critical for us to work with. Brave young men like -- to put an end to any stigma. That keeps more folks from seeking help. When we served as clearly as I can't any of our troops. Or veterans were watching and struck. What of this -- this soldier but this warrior he's tough as -- come and if you can not find the courage and strength. To not only seek help but also to speak out about it to take care himself in the State's strong. And so -- you. So can you. And as you -- that strength. Our nation needs keep -- the commitment -- resources to make sure we're there when you reach out. Because nobody should ever suffer alone and no one should ever died. Waiting for the -- -- that they. That's unacceptable. And all of us have to do better than we're. As time -- part of healing is facing the sources. Of pain. As we prepare for the reading -- -- citation now ask you time to an ever for forget the difference that you made on that -- Because you helped turn back that attracts soldiers are -- -- today. Like a battle but in that humvee Brett Larson told us IO -- my life. Because you -- You you have the urge to serve others at whatever cost. So many army families could welcome home their own -- Him because you. Steffens mother Vanessa who joins us again today is able to say -- brought stuff and safety. Which -- and gave him many more hours on this -- -- felt at peace and she added in the words speak for all of us I'm grateful. To -- more than words can describe. -- -- God -- -- Carter in the soldier's flight back true god bless all our men and women in uniform. God bless the United States of America -- -- that I would like to have the citation was. The president of the United States of America authorized by act of congress. March 3 1863. Has awarded in the name of congress the medal of honor. To specialist tie him Clark united states army. For conspicuous gallantry and interactivity. At the risk of -- life above and beyond the call of duty. Specialist tying him Carter distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and -- pity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a scout with Bravo troop. Third squadron 61 cavalry regiment fourth brigade combat team. Fourth infantry division during combat operations against an armed enemy in -- this district nursed him province Afghanistan. On October 3 2009. On that morning specialist Carter and his comrades awakened to an attack of an estimated 300 enemy fighters. Occupying the high ground on all four sides of combat outpost Keating. Employing concentrated fire from recoil -- rifles rocket propelled grenades anti aircraft machine guns mortars and small arms fire. Specialist Carter reinforced afford battle position ran twice threw 100 meter gauntlet of enemy fire. To resupply ammunition and voluntarily remain there to defend not isolated position. Armed with only an import car being rifle. Specialist Carter placed accurate deadly fire on the enemy. Beating back the assault force and preventing the position from being overrun. Over the course of several hours with complete disregard for his own safety. And in spite of its own wounds he ran through a hail of enemy rocket propelled grenade. And machine gun fire to rescue a critically wounded comrade. Who had been pinned down in an exposed position. Specialist Carter rendered like extending for state and carried the soldier to cover. On his own initiative specialist Carter again maneuver through enemy fire to check on a fallen soldier and recovered the squads radio. Which allowed them to coordinate -- evacuation with fellow soldiers. With teammates providing covering fire specialist Carter assisted in moving the wounded soldier. 100 meters through withering enemy fire to the aid station and before returning to the fight. Specialist Carter's heroic actions and tactical skills were critical to the defense of combat outpost Keating. Preventing the enemy from capturing the position and saving the lives of his fellow soldiers specialists tie him Carter's extraordinary heroism. And selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service. And reflect great credit upon himself Bravo -- third squadron 61 cavalry regiment fourth brigade combat team. Fourth infantry division and the united states army. -- -- -- Who got -- rules the world from everlasting to everlasting. Speak to our hearts -- our courage fails. Our site grows dim our bodies may grow weary. -- by the valor we have honored today. Keep -- resolute and steadfast do things that cannot be shaken. A bombing and hope in knowing that our labor is not in -- Deepen our faith can reap eternal purpose. We -- and -- that -- which never fails. Public to lift up our -- to be cold. The on the things which are seen in temporal. Things which are unseen internal. We may be steadfast and loyal always. All this we prayed and what to do holy name. Well thank you very much everybody I hope you all enjoy the reception. I -- not only thank time once again thank is extraordinary family. Thank his unit and thank all of you for us being able to acknowledge the extraordinary sacrifices that. Our men and women in uniform make every single. And ties were -- Exactly would halt the kind of people -- the quality people. Or serving us we are grateful to god bless you all jobless Merck and. 33 year old staff sergeant -- hotter now where's the medal of honor. Gallantry on the battlefield he is only the twelfth service member to receive this award for actions in Afghanistan or Iraq. And some critics are starting to say that is just too few given the 2.5 million Americans. Men and women who have served in those wars ABC's Mary abuse is standing by live in Washington she joins us now with more on today's ceremony. Mary that -- -- isn't that ceremony was all the more poignant. Given the honest he that that tied Carter has expressed since. Since his time on the battlefield he's -- -- only honest about what it has been like for him what it was like for him on that. Fateful day and since. That's right high -- the medal of honor is really a bittersweet award when you think about it on the one hand sergeant Carter I think is deeply honored and humbled to be recipient of this award. On the other hand you have to remember that this commemorates a horrific battle and brings back all those memories of this deadly ambush. As the president mentioned sergeant Carter helped to fight back hundreds of Taliban he lost eight Brothers in that battle. When two dozen were wounded and and he said that it's now his responsibility that he's received this award. To make sure that he honors the award but also the lives of of his fallen soldiers of his fallen comrades. So interesting when you read the town of what happened -- just an absolutely incredible story of his rushing into the fire in order to to help his. His fellow soldiers he said -- he was going to die he's had quite frankly but he decided that he would die fighting. And trying to save as many lives. As possible but he's also talked about the terrible after affects of post traumatic stress disorder which at one point he admitted he didn't think existed. -- certainly changed his mind now. That's right son -- is that he didn't really believe in the existence of PT ST until he he became a victim of it himself. And now we know that he he's in treatment but he also has taken it upon himself to really -- -- the marry. The medal of honor was first handed out during the civil war after a bill signed by president Lincoln. But we -- to take a look at previous wars to show the contrast here because there -- criticism that not enough of these metals have been given out. In Iraq and Afghanistan so we have world court to. 467. Medals of honor were given. In that warmth and we have the Korean war 136. Of those medals were awarded 248. For the Vietnam War. And then the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan just twelve. So far what if anything has the president said about that that discrepancy. It. That's right critics say that bestowing just twelve medals of honor for the wars in Afghanistan and as many years is simply not enough now we have seen and an uptick. Any amount of awards being being bestowed underneath the Obama administration but critics still say that this isn't enough especially considering the fact that the Iraq -- is now over the war in Afghanistan is winding down. So as you can imagine especially veterans groups would like to see even more percent. How has President Obama. Given any indication. As to whether or not he agrees with fat and we have we seen any change at the Obama administration. Commented on it directly but I think we definitely have seen he is bestowed moreover in the last several years and so that's simply. An indication from this administration that it is something that they take seriously and something that they would like to recognize more heroes and more people like sergeant Carter going forward but. Again it is it is a long arduous process but we have seen a slight uptick underneath the Obama administration. ABC's Mary -- live in Washington DC thank you -- in I would urge anyone. To read -- Carter's first hand account of that battle and what he's been through since this has been an ABC news special report on time Hernandez in New York. This has been a special report from me.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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