President Obama, on Thursday afternoon, presented the nation’s highest military honor, the Medal of Honor to Cpl. William “Kyle” Carpenter in the Eat Room of the White House.
24-year-old Cpl Carpenter, along with Lance Cpl Nicholas Eufrazio, were assigned to a sandbag fortification atop a building in a small village in Helmand province on November 21st, 2010 as automatic riflemen, while serving with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division, 1 Marine Expeditionary Force.
During their assignment, three grenades were lobbed into their position. One of the grenades detonated and injured an Afghan National Army soldier, the second failed to detonate, and the third landed inside the sandbag fortification close to Carpenter and Eufrazio.
In a selfless act of heroism, Carpenter deliberately lunged, placing himself between the grenade and Eufrazio, taking the brunt of the grenade blast. He suffered shrapnel wounds from head to toe.
Carpenter, a native of Flowood, Mississippi, suffered severe, life-threatening, and catastrophic injuries from the blast.
When being treated for his extensive injuries, Carpenter flat-lined three times, but was brought back by doctors.
Carpenter spent over 2.5 years at Walter Reed Hospital, had brain surgery to remove shrapnel from bis head, over 40 surgeries to repair a collapsed lung, repair his fingers and arm which itself was shattered in more than 30 places, multiple skin grafts, eye surgery, jaw surgery and dental surgery. He now has a prosthetic right eye, new jaw, and new teeth after multiple visits to the operating room.
Carpenter, only the eighth living recipient of the Medal of Honor for combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, is now attending college at the University of South Carolina.