US Army Staff Sgt. Ty Carter is set to get the nation's top military honor today, and with it, enter into a very exclusive club. Only a dozen men who have fought in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have received the Medal of Honor, reports Stars and Stripes, and he'll be just the fifth living recipient. CNN adds that it's the first time in almost 50 years that two living soldiers who fought in the same battle has been given the award (Army Staff Sgt. Clint Romesha got his in February), which is bestowed on those who have displayed "conspicuous gallantry" and "selfless courage." NPR and Stars and Stripes detail why the 33-year-old qualified:
On Oct. 3, 2009, some 300 Taliban fighters attacked the 54 soldiers stationed at Command Outpost Keating in Afghanistan in what came to be known as the Battle of Kamdesh; it was "as if somebody kicked an ant hill," says Carter. He not only helped kill militants and resupplied fellow troops with ammunition, but risked his life to save a wounded soldier—even after initially being forbidden from doing so because it was too dangerous. He actually made two trips onto "exposed ground" to save Spc. Stephan Mace, who was ultimately one of eight Americans to die that day. The Pentagon is reportedly hesitant to put medal-holders back in the line of fire, which essentially makes Carter "undeployable"; he plans to focus on helping those with PTSD, which he suffers from. Today's White House ceremony will be held at 2pm. Stars and Stripes has the story of how Carter learned he would get the medal, in a "call he didn't really want to take."