Retired Marine Lance Cpl. William “Kyle” Carpenter will receive the Medal of Honor today, making him the eight living Afghanistan veteran to be honored the prestigious military distinction. Carpenter saved a fellow marine from a live grenade in Afghanistan in November, 2010, severely injuring himself in the process.
Carpenter, a Mississippi native, was deployed in June of 2010 to Afghanistan as an automatic weapons gunner. Months after his deployment, he and his “best friend,” Lance Cpl Nicholas Eufrazio was stationed in Marjah district, a Taliban-controlled area, where they were tasked to provide security for a compound from the rooftop of a building.
According to reports, an enemy unit launched a grenade towards where Carpenter and Eufrazio was located. Carpenter reportedly threw his body over the live grenade to save Eufrazio, losing his eye and most of his teeth in the heroic act.
Kyle Carpenter’s body was “torn apart,” his right arm broken and his jaw “blown off.” Shrapnel from the grenade also heavily pierced the 24-year-old Marine’s body. Fortunately, both Carpenter and Eufrazio survived.
In a recent interview with Fox News‘ Martha MacCallum, Carpenter said his only solid memory of the terrifying event was getting hit by the grenade and thinking of dying.
“I remember very vividly saying over and over that I’m not going to make it, I’m going to die. And the Marines and the corpsman that got to me very quickly and saved my life, they kept telling me the opposite and they really hung there with me and put me back together as best they could and got me on that Medevac flight to get to the hospital,”
Carpenter’s brave and courageous deed earned him the Medal of Honor, the highest and most prestigious distinction that can be given to any member of the United States military. About the honor bestowed upon him, Carpenter had this to say:
“I receive it with a heavy heart. It’s a huge honor and I’m very appreciative and I’m very humbled by it, but at the same time there is – not just from Iraq and Afghanistan, but previous wars since this country was founded – there have been those who didn’t make it back and those who did make it back and had worse injuries than mine,”
Carpenter’s recovery from his injuries was described by doctors as a miraculous one, according to Business Insider, who reported that the Marine was considered a “patient expired at arrival.” Carpenter even reportedly flat-lined while in the hospital, but was able to recover.
William “Kyle” Carpenter will receive his Medal of Honor today and will be joined by Sgt. Dakota Meyer, the other only living Afghan and Iraq veteran recipient of the distinction.
[Image from Politix]