Being awarded the Medal of Honour is a rare occasion these days. The nation’s highest military award for bravery has been conferred just 15 times after more than a decade of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Many recipients lose their lives in the act that the award recognises. But some, like Marine Cpl. Kyle Carpenter — who will receive the medal on June 19 — survive and learn from the president that they are being given the highest possible recognition for their courage.
“Kyle, this is Barack Obama, how you doing?” President Obama said in a phone call to Carpenter at his home in South Carolina. “It’s my pleasure to let you know that based on the recommendation of the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of Defence, I’ve conferred the Medal of Honour to you for your courageous actions in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.”
Carpenter, 24, is being awarded the Medal of Honour for diving on an enemy hand grenade that landed between him and a fellow Marine while posted on a rooftop near Marjah, Afghanistan in 2010. The action saved the life of his best friend, but the grenade peppered his body with shrapnel, ruptured his eardrums, and took his right eye.
The president was very appreciative during the phone call, Carpenter told me in a recent phone interview. “He told me that one of his greatest pleasures [of] being president was being the Commander-in-Chief,” Carpenter said.
You can watch the video below (phone call starts around 5:00):
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