Retired Marine Cpl. Kyle Carpenter is set to receive the Medal of Honour, the nation’s highest award for bravery, on June 19. Carpenter will be the third Marine to be awarded the medal since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Carpenter, now 24-years-old, will be recognised for covering a grenade with his body to save the life of a fellow Marine in 2010, when he was a 21-year-old lance corporal. Both Carpenter and the soldier, his friend Lance Cpl. Nicholas Eufrazio, were badly wounded in the blast. They both survived.
Since 2010, Carpenter has embarked on a remarkable recovery. Carpenter was labelled as patient expired on arrival when he first arrived at a hospital after the blast. Three and a half years later, Carpenter insists that he is just getting started with his recovery. Already, he has gone on to run marathons and skydive.
As Carpenter told the Marine Corps Times in March, “I’m still here and kicking and, you know, I have all my limbs so you’ll never hear me complain.”
Kyle Carpenter was born in Jackson, Mississippi, where he lived until he enlisted with the Marine Corps in 2009.
While serving, Carpenter (left) became close friends with Nicholas Eufrazio (right). On November 10, 2011, Carpenter threw himself on-top of a grenade in order to save Eufrazio's life.
Carpenter withstood extensive injuries. The blast broke his arm in more than 30 places, took his right eye, and mangled his lower jaw.
During his recovery, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos and then-Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Carlton Kent presented Carpenter with the Purple Heart.
Despite his extensive injuries, Carpenter made quick strides in his recovery. Here, he takes his first steps after his injuries.
The majority of Carpenter's injuries are on the right side of his body, including the loss of his right eye. Carpenter has several prosthetic eyes, some of which have been painted to include an image of the Purple Heart.
Once he relearned the basics, Carpenter wasted little time in making the most of life. He went skydiving in 2011.
Once he receives the Medal of Honour, Carpenter will join former Sgt. Dakota Meyer as the only living Marine from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to receive the award.
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