by guest blogger Mark Brewer
I am sort of a guest here, writing a blog article on a topic that seems to bridge the gaps that differentiate us as Americans. In this complex world there is plenty to divide us as a people. We are of different beliefs, races, ideologies, and experiences—this is true. But we seem to be able to come together when it is time to recognize and honor the men and women that fight to defend the liberties that we all hold dear.
Today, August 26, 2013, President Barack Obama will award Staff Sergeant Ty M. Carter, U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. If you haven’t read about Afghanistan Combat Outpost Keating being overrun by enemy soldiers it would be well worth your time to do a little internet “Googling” and get a more personal look at what “conspicuous gallantry” looks like.
Staff Sergeant Carter becomes the fifth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. He joins Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha who was also awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on the other side of the outpost in the same battle.
Two Medals of Honor for the same battle is very rare. The awards for Carter and Romesha mark the first time in almost half a century that one battle produced two awards of the highest honor a soldier can receive.
On that October day, Carter and the other 53 members of B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, were attacked by more than 400 enemy fighters with heavy automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, firing from high ground surrounding the outpost. The enemy infiltrated two areas of the combat outpost, killing eight U.S. Soldiers and injuring more than 25.
Carter, who was a specialist at the time, ran a gauntlet of enemy fire to resupply ammo to fighting positions. His sharpshooting held the enemy at bay and exacted a heavy toll; he risked his life to carry an injured soldier to cover, despite his own injuries.
When we read of conspicuous gallantry we are in a sense participating in it, if only as spectators. But I would say this story is an American story and it belongs to all of us—the lore that touches us, inspires us, and helps us remember that the scars of war remain long after the battles are fought.
NEADS is a wonderful organization that is exercising its own version of conspicuous gallantry by reaching out to veterans who have sacrificed much for this country and the freedoms we enjoy. NEADS is working to heal old wounds and repair old scars. The good news for all of us is that there are many such organizations throughout this country—people whose efforts acknowledge our veterans and whose work is to improve the condition of the veteran’s life.
The Veteran’s Administration was founded on the idea that we should look after our servicemen and facilitate their integration to society after their season of service. The abundance our way of life affords us means we have many ways to reach out to our veterans, whether in education, home ownership, or other veteran services.
I hope you will join me in this belated thanking of Sgt. Carter and the other unnamed men of B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment for their service to our country. And here’s a shout out to all the men and women who are serving and who have served. I hope you will look out for our service members and offer a kind word or a helping hand to them when you cross paths.
After all, we are Americans and have common ground.
This post was sponsored by NEADS partner lowvarates.com