WASHINGTON (WJZ)—Honoring a soldier’s bravery. President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Honor to an Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran who nearly died saving a fellow Marine.
Mary Bubala has the story.
Former Marine Lance Corporal Kyle Carpenter is the eighth surviving veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan to receive America’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor.
“Kyle, you not only saved your brother in arms, you displayed heroism in a blink of an eye that will inspire for generations,” Obama said.
Carpenter received the Medal of Honor for an act of heroism he has no memory of.
“I don’t remember anything before or the moments leading up to. I only remember how I felt and the few seconds before I lost consciousness after I was hit by the grenade,” Carpenter said.
It happened in November 2010 in southern Afghanistan.
According to the citation, Carpenter threw himself in front of that grenade to shield fellow Marine Lance Corporal Nicholas Eufrazio.
When Carpenter came to, he felt his life slipping away.
“I accepted the fact and I understood that I wasn’t gonna survive and that’s where I was gonna die. So, uh, six weeks later, I woke up in Washington, D.C. at a military hospital,” he said.
Eufrazio suffered a traumatic brain injury and cannot attest to Carpenter’s courage, but the evidence of Carpenter’s selfless deed is written all over his battered body.
Navy captain Bruce Adams examined the records of Carpenter’s injuries to answer one question.
“My conclusion was that he was just immediately over top of it when it went off,” Adams said. “As far as I can tell, he was in a horizontal diving posture and from where the detonation went off that was my conclusion that he was most likely diving on the grenade.”
Carpenter was not surprised by those findings. He says it’s what any Marine would do for another.
Carpenter lost most of his jaw and an eye to that grenade but spent two years undergoing medical treatment as doctors reconstructed that part of his face.
Carpenter medically retired from the Marine Corps last year and is now a student at the University of South Carolina.
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