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Afghanistan war veteran awarded Medal of Honor

Staff Sergeant Ty Carter said he wants to help veterans who bear “invisible wounds.’’

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Staff Sergeant Ty Carter said he wants to help veterans who bear “invisible wounds.’’

WASHINGTON — President Obama bestowed the nation’s highest military honor, the Medal of Honor, on Army Staff Sergeant Ty Carter on Monday, saluting the veteran of the war in Afghanistan as ‘‘the essence of true heroism,’’ one still engaged in a battle against the lingering emotional fallout of war.

Carter risked his life to save an injured soldier, resupply ammunition to his comrades, and render first aid during intense fighting in a remote mountain outpost four years ago. ‘‘As these soldiers and families will tell you, they’re a family forged in battle, and loss, and love,’’ Obama said as Carter stood at his side and members of his unit watched in the White House East Room.

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Then an Army specialist, Carter sprinted from his barracks into a ferocious firefight, a daylong battle on Oct. 3, 2009, that killed eight of his fellow soldiers as they tried to defend their outpost from a much larger force of Taliban and local fighters.

Carter, 33, a former Marine who later enlisted in the Army, also has received a Purple Heart and many other medals. He grew up in Spokane, Wash., and is currently assigned to the Seventh Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in his home state.

Still suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, Carter stood nearly emotionless during the ceremony, although a faint smile crossed his face near the end that turned into a broad grin as Obama placed the medal and its blue ribbon around his neck and the audience — which included 40 members of Carter’s family — answered with a rousing standing ovation.

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