The Silver Star
Michael J. McCarty was born in Searcy, Arkansas on 12 January 1980. He graduated from Bald Knob High School in 1998. By 2002, he had earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture from Arkansas State University and commissioned as a second lieutenant, an infantry officer, in the United States Army. He was, also, the 2002 George C. Marshall Award winner and the distinguished military graduate for ROTC. 2LT McCarty returned to ASU as a temporary instructor for the ROTC program in the spring of 2003. He mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom II (OIF), October 2003. Deployed to Iraq with C Co. 3-153 Infantry, 39th BCT, 1st Cavalry Division in April 2004, he was promoted to first lieutenant in May 2004. He returned to the U.S. in February 2005 and mobilized to New Orleans, LA with the 2-153 Infantry, 39th BDE to aid in Hurricane Katrina rescue efforts. McCarty's awards and honors include the Silver Star; Bronze Star with Valor; Bronze Star; Purple Heart; Meritorious Service Medal; and Army Commendation Medal with Valor.
On 20 November 2004, 1LT Michael McCarty's platoon was serving as the Quick Reaction Force for his company when he received information that an Iraqi Police station in their operational area was under attack. As his platoon arrived in the attack zone, they were engaged by small arms fire, improvised explosive devices, and rocket propelled grenades. Continuing toward the police station, a suicide car bomber attempted to ram his vehicle into the convoy. Twenty feet from the closest gunship, the bomb detonated, causing massive damage to the vehicle and severely injuring two of his Soldiers. McCarty maintained control, evacuated the wounded, and returned to the battle where his platoon of 26 engaged approximately 75 insurgents. During this engagement, McCarty's vehicle was hit by an armor piercing rocket propelled grenade, injuring him and two more of his Soldiers. Observing a machine gun crew taking aim on his vehicle, he jumped out, while the vehicle was still moving, and charged the gun crew, single-handedly taking out the three man team. While dismounted, he successfully coordinated an ammunition re-supply and casualty evacuation through a radio call to a supporting team. His actions were responsible for saving American lives, destroying enemy forces, and preventing the capture of an Iraqi Police Station. 1LT McCarty's heroic performance is in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, the 39th Brigade Combat Team, the 1st Cavalry Division, and the United States Army.