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The Medal of Honor: Ty Carter's double valor

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Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Spc. Ty M. Carter's extraordinary valor in Afghanistan would be worthy of America's highest military honor in any war of any era. That he's open about suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and wants to help others affected by it is another form of valor, one that makes his Medal of Honor especially fitting for today's wars — and valuable for today's military personnel.

On Monday, President Obama presented the medal to Mr. Carter, 33, of Washington state. He earned it for his actions on Oct. 3, 2009, when he was among U.S. forces outnumbered about 6-to-1 by more than 300 Afghan insurgents who attacked a remote outpost so vulnerable that the Pentagon later said it never should have been established.

Dodging heavy enemy fire for more than six hours, Carter carried ammunition to comrades, recovered a field radio, provided first aid, killed insurgent attackers and was wounded.

Yet he also rescued a badly injured comrade who later died in a field hospital. Carter blamed himself for that soldier's death — and has struggled with PTSD ever since.

Openness about PTSD counters the warrior stoicism that leaves too many sufferers ashamed, isolated and leery of seeking help. That makes Ty Carter a hero of both combat and its aftermath — one whose Medal of Honor signifies courage not just under fire but also in confronting the real yet invisible wounds that so many of today's returning soldiers still deal with long after their battles end.

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