President Obama awards U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ty Carter the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry at the White House on August 26. Photo by Joyce Bond.
Recently, the national news was rife with the story of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ty Carter, the former Spokane resident and North Central High School graduate that was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery in an Oct. 3, 2009 battle in Afghanistanâ€™s Nuristan Province.
Carter, surrounded by press, military, and his family, received his medal from President Barack Obama in a White House ceremony Monday, Aug. 26
Among Carterâ€™s family members were his aunt and uncle, Joyce and Joe Bond of Ferry County.
â€śIt was a feeling of excitement, certainly, but also of being very proud of Ty and my sister (Tyâ€™s mother, Paula Cater),â€ť says Joyce Bond, 60. â€śMostly though, it was very humbling.â€ť
Bond and her husband live three miles outside of Republic. Joe is a former Ferry County Commissioner and sawmill employee who worked at Vaagen Bros. Lumber for 29-years and Joyce is a cosmetologist who works from home. The couple flew to Washington D.C. August 25 and attended the award ceremony for Carter, along with Carterâ€™s parents and 89-year-old grandmother, Twila Anderson.
Joyce recalls the family reÂ¬ceiving a police escort to the White House. After everyone was escorted to their seats, Presidentâ€™s Obama and Carter were introduced to the crowd and walked on a small, raised stage together.
â€śThe president was very personable to him (Carter) and to my family,â€ť Joyce says.
During the ceremony, President Obama praised Carter as a â€śtrue heroâ€ť whose â€śservice and selfless actions saved many lives.â€ť
The Bonds and the rest of Carterâ€™s family were treated to a reception at the White House following the ceremony as well as a ceremony at the Hall of Heroes in the Pentagon.
A shy boy
Carter, one of only five living recipients of the Medal of Honor who fought in post-9/11 conflicts, was cited for his actions during a battle for Combat Outpost Keating in which he attempted to rescue a fellow soldier, Spc. Stephan Mace. Carter pulled Mace to safety and treated him in the middle of a fierce, 12-hour-long battle. Mace, critically wounded, eventually died. On that day, nearly 300 insurgents, armed with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, surrounded the outpost. Fifty-three Americans were stationed there; eight were killed in the battle, and 22 were wounded.
Itâ€™s the first battle since the Vietnam War in which two living servicemen earned the Medal of Honor. Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha received his medal in February.
Carter is now based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, where he lives with his wife Shannon and three children. Earlier in life, he spent four years in the Marine Corps and attended college after his discharge.
However, he found the transition back to civilian life difficult, so he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2008.
Carter already has several military decorations, including the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters and the Army Good Conduct Medal.
Joyce remembers her nephew as being a shy boy who never felt like he fit in. He was fascinated by entomology as a youngster and developed a knack for shooting and knowledge of firearms.
â€śThe military (Tyâ€™s enlistment) was not a surprise,â€ť says Joyce. â€śHe said his training is what kept him going and kept him alive during that battle.â€ť