A retired Marine will receive the Medal of Honor for using his body to block a grenade blast in Afghanistan, the White House announced on Monday.
Cpl. William “Kyle” Carpenter, a 24-year-old Mississippi native who now lives in South Carolina, was serving with 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment on Nov. 21, 2010, when he covered a grenade to save the life of his friend, Lance Cpl. Nick Eufrazio, during a firefight with Taliban insurgents, according to the Marine Corps.
Both men were severely wounded, but Carpenter took the brunt of the blast. His lung collapsed, he lost an eye, blew out his eardrums and shattered his jaw and teeth.
President Barack Obama will present Carpenter with the Medal of Honor at a ceremony at the White House on June 19. Carpenter will be the eighth living recipient and the second Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan.
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Born in Flowood, Miss., Carpenter graduated from W. Wyman King Academy in Batesburg, S.C., in 2008 and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2009.
After 2 1/2 years spent recovering from his injuries, he was medically retired from the military last year and now is studying at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
“Going from toting a machine gun in Afghanistan … to using a bed pan, and I can’t even put my own socks on – that was hard to kind of suck it up,” Carpenter said in an account of his actions posted on the Marine Corps website.
He said he feels very fortunate.
“Early on in my recovery, the entire United States seemed to be supportive,” he said. “Letters flooded in from all over the place, so from the second I woke up in the hospital, I’ve always had a great team and great people.”