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Headquarters Marine Corps

White House announces Marine Medal of Honor recipient

By Lance Cpl. Eric Keenan | Headquarters Marine Corps | May 19, 2014

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Marine veteran Cpl. Kyle Carpenter poses for a photo. Carpenter will receive the medal from President Barack Obama, June 19, 2014. He will be the eighth living recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Marine veteran Cpl. Kyle Carpenter poses for a photo. Carpenter will receive the medal from President Barack Obama, June 19, 2014. He will be the eighth living recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. (Photo by Cpl. Michael Guinto)


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FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. -- The White House announced today that Marine veteran Cpl. William “Kyle” Carpenter will receive the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Marjah, Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Carpenter will receive the medal from President Barack Obama, June 19, 2014. He will be the eighth living recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.

On Nov. 21, 2010, Taliban insurgents initiated an attack on Carpenter’s squad, part of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment. Carpenter, the squad automatic rifleman for his fire team, and Lance Cpl. Nicholas Eufrazio were holding a rooftop security position when a hand grenade was thrown their way. Without hesitation, Carpenter reacted, rushing toward the grenade in an attempt to shield his brother-in-arms from its blast.

The grenade detonated with Carpenter’s body taking the majority of the blast. Carpenter lay on the rooftop, barely clinging to life; his fellow Marine also severely wounded.

A selfless action and a hellish tragedy happened in the blink of an eye, leaving both Carpenter and Eufrazio with painstaking recoveries.

Carpenter suffered severe injuries from the blast. Much of his jaw was rebuilt and he lost his right eye; he sustained countless shattered bones throughout his body and a collapsed right lung.

He endured a strenuous recovery process at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md. After two and a half years, Carpenter was medically retired from the Marine Corps on July 30, 2013.

“I look back and I’m actually very appreciative I had those two and a half years because those years put things in perspective more than a whole lifetime of things could if I wasn’t there,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter’s mind and emotions were not left unscarred either. The hardest part was dealing with letting others help, he said.

“Going from toting a machinegun 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.

Although the recovery process seemed endless and small tasks required assistance, Carpenter overcame the odds and has a new outlook on life from the entire tragedy, he said. He is grateful for all the help and support he received.

“I’ve just been very fortunate that I’ve had not only my family, but friends, Marines and the community of South Carolina,” Carpenter said, “Early on in my recovery, the entire United States seemed to be supportive. 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. I’ve been very fortunate.”

Even with such a great honor bestowed on him, he remains humble.

“As many firefights and instances where there’s been opportunity, Marines have stepped up to the plate — not only in Iraq and Afghanistan but since the beginning of our country,” Carpenter said “So I truly feel like I’m on an even playing field.”

Carpenter was born in Flowood, Miss., but resides in South Carolina. He is now a full-time student at the University of South Carolina, but does miss the Marine Corps, he said.

Looking back at his time in the Corps, Carpenter’s fondest memories are being deployed with his fellow Marines in Afghanistan. To him, nothing will compare to months without a shower, sleeping in the dirt and being with 50 of his best friends.

“If I look at it that way, I’m very thankful for Afghanistan and it really means a lot to me,” Carpenter said. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.”

Carpenter’s awards include the Purple Heart Medal, the Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Navy Unit Commendation Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one bronze campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with one bronze star, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal International Security Assistance Force, and a Rifle Sharpshooter Badge.


Imageafghanistan ImageCpl. Kyle Carpenter ImageHelmand province ImageMarjah ImageMedal of Honor ImagePresident Barack Obama

25 Comments


  • Allyn F. Hickey/Fisher 127 days ago
    My son is also a Marine. Currently in Quantico, Va, TBS. He is feeling incredibly, fortunate, honored and humbled that he will be one of the privileged few among the audience able to whiteness you receive this VERY deserved honor. I can't wait to watch. You empower all of your fellow Marines. My son has not yet seen combat, I pray he never will, although he feels very differently. Marines are truly a unique breed, with a higher calling. Brave to say the least, they feel the need to do more, and they do it. You are a TRUE Hero son. Semper Fi!
  • Allyn F. Hickey/Fisher 127 days ago
    My son is also a Marine. Currently in Quantico, Va, TBS. He is feeling incredibly, fortunate, honored and humbled that he will be one of the privileged few among the audience able to whiteness you receive this VERY deserved honor. I can't wait to watch. You empower all of your fellow Marines. My son has not yet seen combat, I pray he never will, although he feels very differently. Marines are truly a unique breed, with a higher calling. Brave to say the least, they feel the need to do more, and they do it. You are a TRUE Hero son. Semper Fi!
  • Allyn F. Hickey/Fisher 127 days ago
    My son is also a Marine. Currently in Quantico, Va, TBS. He is feeling incredibly, fortunate, honored and humbled that he will be one of the privileged few among the audience able to whiteness you receive this VERY deserved honor. I can't wait to watch. You empower all of your fellow Marines. My son has not yet seen combat, I pray he never will, although he feels very differently. Marines are truly a unique breed, with a higher calling. Brave to say the least, they feel the need to do more, and they do it. You are a TRUE Hero son. Semper Fi!
  • Allyn F. Hickey/Fisher 127 days ago
    My son is also a Marine. Currently in Quantico, Va, TBS. He is feeling incredibly, fortunate, honored and humbled that he will be one of the privileged few among the audience able to whiteness you receive this VERY deserved honor. I can't wait to watch. You empower all of your fellow Marines. My son has not yet seen combat, I pray he never will, although he feels very differently. Marines are truly a unique breed, with a higher calling. Brave to say the least, they feel the need to do more, and they do it. You are a TRUE Hero son. Semper Fi!
  • Andrea Siedsma 137 days ago
    Thanks is not enough for your service and heroic efforts. Never estimate the strength and courage of a U.S. Marine! You and your Marine brothers make us all proud Semper F!
  • Big Bad John 149 days ago
    I know what it's like with out showers,a bed and a hot meal.I also know what it's like being an automatic rifflemen in a Fireteam. I will never know what's it's like to have grenade blow up in my face. But I do know that Marines will do what they have to in order to protect the Brothers in there fire team,squad,and platoon.
    Your a TRUE Marine ( the Army has Soldiers )the MARINE Corps has MARINES
    God Bless and keep you close to him along with all our Brother Marines.

    Semper Fi from a Brother Marine CpL.JLS. Gulf Co. 2nd Battalion 4th Marines. Vietnam 1964-65-66
  • Big Bad John 149 days ago
    I know what it's like with out showers,a bed and a hot meal.I also know what it's like being an automatic rifflemen in a Fireteam. I will never know what's it's like to have grenade blow up in my face. But I do know that Marines will do what they have to in order to protect the Brothers in there fire team,squad,and platoon.
    Your a TRUE Marine ( the Army has Soldiers )the MARINE Corps has MARINES
    God Bless and keep you close to him along with all our Brother Marines.

    Semper Fi from a Brother Marine CpL.JLS. Gulf Co. 2nd Battalion 4th Marines. Vietnam 1964-65-66
  • Tim Ashley 149 days ago
    Ohh Rah Devildog!!!
  • suzanne 153 days ago
    My son who is currently an active duty Marine. He has not seen combat nor has he been deployed yet. As his mom I pray everyday for him and all his fellow Marines . Now I have a new name to add to my list . your a brave young man and you deserve this medal . THANK YOU !!!!! Be safe and SEMPER FI
  • suzanne 153 days ago
    My son who is currently an active duty Marine. He has not seen combat nor has he been deployed yet. As his mom I pray everyday for him and all his fellow Marines . Now I have a new name to add to my list . your a brave young man and you deserve this medal . THANK YOU !!!!! Be safe and SEMPER FI
  • Robert P Corsa 154 days ago
    SEMPER FI MARINE
    WELCOME HOME
  • Jeannie 155 days ago
    Thank you for every moment you have and will give to this amazing country. Even though we are strangers and I am from the Vietnam era I feel like you and all who sacrifice are my family. My best wishes, prayers and blessings are with you always. I salute you
  • pam horn 155 days ago
    Your story is amazing, yet tragic but shows the U.S. is proud of their soldiers. Honestly we as a nation don't do near enough to celebrate all of the sacrifices our military must endure. The best part of the article was about no showers...hahaha reminds me of growing up with 4 brothers!! hahaha God Bless and keep you wrapped in His arms. To God be the glory--so glad he watched over you. AMEN
  • Padrino (MSgt Ret) 156 days ago
    Thank you for your sacrifice and glad you are still amongst us Marine. Semper Fi
  • Pat Zeigler 156 days ago
    Thank you for answering the call to serve your Country. It is because of people like you we remain a free nation. Gid bless you and Gid Bless America!
  • Ron Cook 156 days ago
    I am moved beyond words at the thought of your sacrifice, and continued challenges as a result of that sacrifice.
    My youngest is planning for a career in the Marines. I couldn't be more proud. Thank you, soldier, for your service, and for your example.
  • Diane Robison 156 days ago
    You have made every person in Lexington SO very proud. Many of us have seen you from afar and admired your courage. Now is your time to make an entire nation see what those of us in SC know .. you are a true HERO! Thank you!
  • Diane Robison 156 days ago
    For the past few years the people of Lexington and SC have seen firsthand the true courage you have exhibited. You have been an inspiration to us all. Now the entire country will know what we already know -- you are a TRUE HERO! Thank you for what you did and for what you continue to do. God bless you and your entire family!
  • Diane Robison 156 days ago
    You have made very one in Lexington and SC SO proud. Some of us have seen your courage over the past few years and are in awe of your courage. Now the entire country will be able too see what we already know -- YOU ARE A TRUE HERO!! Thank you from a beautiful country!
  • Diane Robison 156 days ago
    You have made every person in Lexington SO very proud. Many of us have seen you from afar and admired your courage. Now is your time to make an entire nation see what those of us in SC know .. you are a true HERO! Thank you!
  • JOHN AND DIANE YONCE 156 days ago
    THIS COUNTRY IS SO BLESSED TO HAVE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN DEFEND AND GO OUT TO CARE FOR PEOPLE WHOEVER AND WHENEVR THEY ARE CALLED. THANK YOU AND THIS METAL IS WELL DESERVED.
  • Becca McPeak 157 days ago
    Thank you for your service to our country, for our freedoms to walk down the streets of our homeland, the fact that you volunteered for this service without thoughts to your own SAFETY or making that ultimate sacrifice for the country, the communities, your family and my family. I thank you for your service but I HATE what happened to you. War have been fought for centuries. It has not been working ever I hope that there is never any war ever again.
  • Johnny Utah 157 days ago
    Semper Fi Devil Dog! You are totally awesome!!!
  • John Lothrop 157 days ago
    OUTSTANDING - SEMPER FI! What else can you can say
  • Bushido Devil Dog 157 days ago
    Outstanding! Semper Fidelis, Devil Dog!

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