Combat Outpost Keating had been built in Nuristan province in 2006 as part of the effort by NATO-led forces to build partnerships with local Afghans, and try to stop insurgents from trickling over in nearby Pakistan.
The camp had experienced ups and downs since that time and by 2008, the cavalry commanders in charge of the outpost thought it made sense to shut it down.
Yet there were other factors at play.
Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai was in the middle of his re-election campaign in fall 2009, and abandoning Combat Outpost Keating might have been seen as a lack of American support.
So, despite numerous warnings, Gen. Stanley McChrystal -- then commander of all U.S. troops in Afghanistan -- kept the outpost open.
After Karzai's victory and the end of a military operation that freed some key assets, the military leadership approved a plan to abandon the outpost and the troops stationed there were to start packing up on Oct. 4, 2009.
That never happened.
Instead, a day before their planned departure, an assault was unleashed on the outpost that culminated in what has now been described as one of the most intense battles of the entire war in Afghanistan.
The first shots rang out just a few minutes before 6 a.m. The rumors that the soldiers had heard for months were coming true. Carter said he had often imagined that day.
"I was like, 'Well, if it's my time to go, how am I going out?' " he said.
The Taliban had studied how the Americans responded to previous attacks, and they knew the outpost relied heavily on its mortars.
So they made the big guns their first target.
"When the enemy weren't shooting at us, they were shooting at the weapons," Carter said. "So they were disabling the weapons."
The insurgent fire killed Pfc. Kevin Thomson as he raced to his post. Sgt. Josh Kirk was killed while returning fire.
"You could hear the rounds coming in from every direction," said platoon Sgt. Jon Hill.
Troops begin running much-needed ammunition to the men on guard duty. Sgt. Michael Scusa was gunned down 10 feet outside one of the outpost's doors. In the midst of the gunfire, Sgt. Christopher Griffin "immediately ran out the door without hesitation," Hill said.
"He didn't make it back."
Ammunition was starting to run out, so Ty Carter and other members of his Black Knight troop volunteered to deliver more -- a hundred yards away across the heaviest of gunfire.
Carter didn't think twice about the danger. All he knew was there were three fellow soldiers -- Sgt. Bradley Larson, Spc. Stephan Mace and Sgt. Justin Gallegos -- trapped in a Humvee and they needed more supplies to return fire.
"Carter's kinda like .. for lack of a better word, a robot," Hill said. "You tell him to do something, he's gonna do it and he's gonna do it to the best of his ability."
He would return through that deadly gauntlet three times to get supplies to the men.
When the firefight was over, the death toll would include Mace, Gallegos, Sgt. Josh Hardt, and Staff Sgt. Vernon Martin.
The names of all eight men who died on that day are engraved on a steel band that Carter wears on his wrist, not that he needs the reminder.
Today, Carter still struggles with the memories of the battle, seeking solace with his wife and three children on their farm in Washington state near Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where he is now stationed.