Video: Cpl. Kyle Carpenter receives Medal of Honor for jumping on a grenade for his men

posted at 10:01 pm on June 19, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

As always, it is a privilege to be able to thank and truly honor those who receive this honor while they are still among us. Lance Cpl. William “Kyle” Carpenter’s story is not just about his brave actions on the battlefield, which are truly selfless and stunning. It’s about a harrowing recovery. It’s incredible he’s alive and I’m so glad he is.

“Cpl. William ‘Kyle’ Carpenter should not be alive today,” President Barack Obama told those gathered at the White House Thursday to witness the severely wounded Marine receive the Medal of Honor.

The nation’s highest award for military valor was bestowed on Carpenter for pouncing on an enemy grenade to save a fellow Marine who was standing watch with him on a rooftop in the Marjah district of Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold, on the morning of Nov. 21, 2010.

Carpenter was serving as an automatic rifleman with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team-1, 1st Marine Division (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), when an insurgent tossed a grenade near him and his battle buddy, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Eufrazio.

The blast seat of the grenade was found under Carpenter’s torso, indicating that he had smothered it intentionally.

Stars and Stripes reports he flatlined several times on the table while medics tried to save him.

Carpenter spent five weeks in a coma and more than two and a half years in the hospital undergoing nearly 40 surgeries — including brain surgery. Doctors had to remove shrapnel from his head and repair a collapsed lung, fractured fingers, and a right arm that was broken in more than 30 places. He received a new prosthetic eye, a new jaw, new teeth, and multiple skin grafts.

The doctors at Walter Reed in Bethesda, Md., “put me back together well,” Carpenter has said.

Martha MacCallum interviewed Carpenter. Listen to the end of this short interview when Carpenter, as these guys always do, shows the incredible humility and mindfulness you always see in true men of valor.


Here are Carpenter’s remarks after the ceremony today. Thank you, Lance Cpl.


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Thank you, Hero!

annoyinglittletwerp on June 19, 2014 at 10:02 PM

I am greatly moved by this tale but I cannot believe Obama understands anything about this man’s sacrifice.

Sherman1864 on June 19, 2014 at 10:06 PM

Amazing. Yes, a hero.

CW on June 19, 2014 at 10:07 PM

Man, just the arm broken in 30 places would be mind-bending agony, much less everything else that happened to him. Jumping on a grenade takes seeds the size of….well…let’s just say you ladies should be lining up for this guy.

Bishop on June 19, 2014 at 10:07 PM

zero does not deserve to command troops such as Cpl Carpenter and troops deserve a much better CIC than zero.

Newtie and the Beauty on June 19, 2014 at 10:07 PM

He may have been a Lance at the time of the event, but he’s got two up and crossed rifles and a blood stripe on those blues MKH, that makes him a Corporal.

Semper Fi, brother.

BKeyser on June 19, 2014 at 10:08 PM

Thank you, Cpl Carpenter!

Another hero story:

UNSTOPPABLE: Taylor Morris, A Quad Amputee Story

Resist We Much on June 19, 2014 at 10:09 PM

This courageous young man, makes me cry…

Bravo Lance Cpl Carpenter, my prayers for your continued recovery.

Scrumpy on June 19, 2014 at 10:09 PM

Awe inspiring. Thanks for bringing this to us MKH.

SoRight on June 19, 2014 at 10:10 PM

I was thinking Obungle doesn’t deserve to be in the same room with this guy.

crankyoldlady on June 19, 2014 at 10:10 PM

Such amazing men and women this nation produces. Godspeed in your life, Lance Cpl. Carpenter.

whatcat on June 19, 2014 at 10:11 PM

He may have been a Lance at the time of the event, but he’s got two up and crossed rifles and a blood stripe on those blues MKH, that makes him a Corporal.

Semper Fi, brother.

BKeyser on June 19, 2014 at 10:08 PM |

Yes, but the Medal is awarded with the rank at the time of the incident, so he’s referred to in the commendation as Lance Cpl, so that’s why I used that. But I can change it in the headline. That’ll make it less cumbersome anyway.

Mary Katharine Ham on June 19, 2014 at 10:11 PM

god bless him as hes blessed us for having him on our side.

dmacleo on June 19, 2014 at 10:11 PM

That’s “no greater love” in action!

God bless you, Lance Cpl Carpenter

lineholder on June 19, 2014 at 10:12 PM

OutStanding!!

https://twitter.com/DeptofDefense

Retweeted by U.S. Dept of Defense
U.S. Marines @USMC · 6h

It looks good on you @chiksdigscars Well deserved recognition for the Corps’ newest #MedalOfHonor recipient.

https://twitter.com/USMC/status/479714377135030272/photo/1

https://twitter.com/USMC

canopfor on June 19, 2014 at 10:12 PM

MKH, thanks for putting up this story!

It does us good to hear the stories of these brave folks fighting in our behalf. Puts things in perspective

lineholder on June 19, 2014 at 10:14 PM

UNSTOPPABLE: Taylor Morris, A Quad Amputee Story

Resist We Much on June 19, 2014 at 10:09 PM

Thank you Sophie :)

This young mans courage and his young lady’s is outstanding!!

Her love for him simply shines and his for her…

Excuse me whilst I fetch me tissues…

Scrumpy on June 19, 2014 at 10:15 PM

I was thinking Obungle doesn’t deserve to be in the same room with this guy.

crankyoldlady on June 19, 2014 at 10:10 PM

…JugEars doesn’t belong in the same country with this guy!

JugEarsButtHurt on June 19, 2014 at 10:15 PM

A true hero.

And he has more honor and selflessness in a single hair, than the “President” standing behind him, will ever have.

What a truly sad nation we’ve become, to elect that pathetic excuse for a man twice.

Meople on June 19, 2014 at 10:15 PM

Amazing hero.

But in my gut… the man giving the award…

I love honoring heros.

No, absolutely none, dishonor to the man getting the award. Praise be. Salute.

But I always feel like there’s a turd in the punchbowl with a dog eating potus giving it.

I hate that I have to feel that way, but I do.

wolly4321 on June 19, 2014 at 10:16 PM

that makes him a Corporal.
BKeyser on June 19, 2014 at 10:08 PM

Good catch.

whatcat on June 19, 2014 at 10:16 PM

Love these stories.

Congrats and thank you solider.

gophergirl on June 19, 2014 at 10:18 PM

He has a beautiful smile, girls.

crankyoldlady on June 19, 2014 at 10:19 PM

He has a beautiful smile, girls.

crankyoldlady on June 19, 2014 at 10:19 PM

Nothing sexier than a man who has honor and valor like that.

gophergirl on June 19, 2014 at 10:20 PM

Mary Katharine Ham on June 19, 2014 at 10:11 PM

Thanks. Maybe an etiquette I’m not aware of. Course, during my time in the Corps, I’d have been aggravated with anyone who referred to me by a rank not reflected on my uniform.

Plus, achieving NCO status is an important milestone in a young Marine’s career.

No worries though. You’re a cool cat. ;)

BKeyser on June 19, 2014 at 10:22 PM

I can’t even imagine the courage it would take to jump on a grenade. Very impressive.

Flange on June 19, 2014 at 10:25 PM

Wow! Amazing man!

You know.. years ago I read in an Army magazine pages and pages of instances in WWII where soldiers gave their lives in heroic ways. It was all documented.. name of soldier.. time and place. Just incredible.

Sgt A in such and such a date in this place during this battle throws himself on grenade. Private B in village C kills 25 Germans taking a machine gun nest while hist be 6 bullets and saves his platoon… Lt. C fights 15 Germans, wounded in both arms and chest throws himself on a grenade.

I was just amazed.. it was pages and pages of documentations. I could not believe how many soldiers had thrown themselves on grenades.. and the stories of so many who were shot 3, 4, 6 times and still fought outnumbered and won.. but giving their lives to capture a position, take out a bunker themselves or save a platoon. The stories should have been written on marble in all of our schools.

JellyToast on June 19, 2014 at 10:28 PM

U.S. Marines ‏@USMC 6h

@codecow http://www.marines.mil/moh/Citation.aspx
Detail
=========

Official U.S. Marine Corps Website

Summary of Action

Lance Corporal William Kyle Carpenter is enthusiastically recommended for the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his life while serving as a squad automatic rifleman, Company F, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) for actions against enemy forces on 21 November 2010 in Marjah District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Lance Corporal Carpenter’s squad was tasked with establishing Patrol Base Dakota in a small village in the Karez-e Saydi area of Marjah on 19 November 2010. Traveling by foot, Lance Corporal Carpenter’s squad was accompanied by a team of engineers, an interpreter, and Afghan National Army personnel when they set out to establish Patrol Base Dakota.

On the morning of 20 November 2010, the squad was attacked by small arms fire, sniper fire, grenades, and rockets while providing perimeter security and filling sandbags to fortify their positions at Patrol Base Dakota. During this time, Lance Corporal Carpenter was occupying Post 2 which was located on the top of an Afghan storage shed made of mud, straw and small timbers in the southwest corner of the compound when it was struck by recoilless rifle fire. Lance Corporal Carpenter received no injuries during this incident, but two of his fellow Marines were evacuated from wounds received during the attack. Due to the damages sustained to the roof of Post 2, Lance Corporal Carpenter moved within the storage shed located below Post 2 requiring him to utilize an opening in the southeast corner of the wall for observation. The use of the opening had severely reduced the squad’s capability to observe the enemy forces’ movement outside of the patrol base to the south due to its close proximity to the ground.

On the morning of 21 November 2010, Lance Corporal Carpenter and Lance Corporal Nicholas Eufrazio were tasked with providing security for Patrol Base Dakota from an observation post identified as Post 1. Post 1 was located in the northeastern corner of the patrol base on the roof of the patrol’s Command Operations Center. It had limited cover and concealment and was built up with the use of sandbags three to four high in a circular design. While on post, Lance Corporal Carpenter was manning a M240B and, together with Lance Corporal Eufrazio, was assigned to observe the north, northwest, and northeast sectors of Patrol Base Dakota.

At approximately 0900, Lance Corporal Eufrazio and Lance Corporal Carpenter received sporadic small arms fire on their position causing them to lower their profile by lying on their backs in order to gain concealment while trying to obtain the locations of enemy positions. Unable to obtain the position of the enemy due to the thick vegetation and structures that surrounded them, Lance Corporal Carpenter’s squad leader loaned him his M4 service rifle in order to maintain a lower profile while scanning for enemy forces.

At approximately 1000, Patrol Base Dakota was attacked again by enemy forces through the use of sporadic small arms fire. While attempting to locate their positions, enemy forces had maneuvered in close through the use of the walls of the compound across the street to the east. Once in position, three grenades were thrown over the east compound wall in consecutive order. The first grenade landed in the center of the compound and rolled toward the west entry point of the Patrol Base prior to detonation injuring one Afghan National Army soldier. The second grenade landed near Post 2 where Lance Corporal Carpenter was positioned the day prior without detonation. The final grenade landed in close proximity to him and Lance Corporal Eufrazio on the rooftop observation post.

Realizing the danger that he and Lance Corporal Eufrazio were in, Lance Corporal Carpenter positioned himself between the grenade and his fellow Marine in an attempt to shield Lance Corporal Eufrazio from its blast. Due to Lance Corporal Carpenter’s actions, the majority of the grenade blast was deflected down rather than up causing a cone shaped hole to be blown down through the ceiling of the command operations center. The blast sent debris directly onto the platoon’s corpsman that was lying directly below the observation post where Lance Corporal Eufrazio and Lance Corporal Carpenter were posted. Although Lance Corporal Eufrazio received a shrapnel injury to the head from the grenade, Lance Corporal Carpenter’s body absorbed a majority of the resulting explosion.

Lance Corporal Carpenter was severely wounded and immediately evacuated due to a depressed skull fracture requiring brain surgery, multiple facial fractures, a third of his lower jaw missing, a collapsed right lung, and multiple fragment injuries to both of his upper and lower extremities.

Lance Corporal Carpenter’s extraordinary demonstration of bravery, decisiveness, and loyalty to his fellow Marine embody the Marine Corps’ values of honor, courage and commitment. His total disregard for his own personal safety distinguishes his conduct above and beyond the call of duty in the face of certain death. Due to Lance Corporal Carpenter’s fearless devotion to duty and heroic actions, he is strongly recommended for the Medal of Honor.

http://www.marines.mil/moh/Citation.aspx

canopfor on June 19, 2014 at 10:34 PM

Nothing sexier than a man who has honor and valor like that. gophergirl on June 19, 2014 at 10:20 PM

When I worked at home depot, I had a hero come in buying lumber. To build a doghouse for his new puppy. Both legs gone. One arm mangled. He was nonetheless going to build it himself. He had been home a month. Still bandaged up. A kid, really.

But he had the hottest looking babe with him I’ve ever seen. Penthouse material.

All I could think was.. right on.

There was no stopping this dude. He bought hammers and saws.

Wasn’t nothing going to slow him down. His attitude under such adversity amazed me.

wolly4321 on June 19, 2014 at 10:34 PM

To me, nothing epitomizes the Medal of Honor more than a soldier/Marine who falls on a grenade to save his Brother(s) in Arms.

Semper Fi Corporal, you do us proud.

PS Please tell me that the phrase “battle buddy” has not infiltrated the Corpse.

weathermen on June 19, 2014 at 10:36 PM

Lucky for him he’s not stuck in a Mexican jail.

Dan_Yul on June 19, 2014 at 10:37 PM

JellyToast on June 19, 2014 at 10:28 PM

Another Medal of Honour recipient for heroism during the Battle of Guadalcanal, along with the Navy Cross, which was awarded posthumously:

Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone

Resist We Much on June 19, 2014 at 10:38 PM

Lucky for him he’s not stuck in a Mexican jail.

Dan_Yul on June 19, 2014 at 10:37 PM

WHAT????????

Barred on June 19, 2014 at 10:42 PM

Thank you for sharing this story, MKH.

Semper Fi, Cpl. Carpenter.

Mark Boabaca on June 19, 2014 at 10:42 PM

wolly4321 on June 19, 2014 at 10:34 PM

And then you have the other ugly side, a young man here, came back from Iraq, semi paralyzed and had had brain surgery, he gets around, is cheerful, and his wife leaves him and takes their child, so sad…

Scrumpy on June 19, 2014 at 10:43 PM

Cpl. Kyle Carpenter. Our thanks to you Sir. You make us proud.

Bmore on June 19, 2014 at 10:50 PM

canopfor,

Thanks for quoting the Summary of Action. That’s very moving

…conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his life…

…Lance Corporal Carpenter’s extraordinary demonstration of bravery, decisiveness, and loyalty to his fellow Marine embody the Marine Corps’ values of honor, courage and commitment. His total disregard for his own personal safety distinguishes his conduct above and beyond the call of duty in the face of certain death. Due to Lance Corporal Carpenter’s fearless devotion to duty and heroic actions, he is strongly recommended for the Medal of Honor.

The word hero is too tritely used these days, but Cpl. Kyle Carpenter showed us what one truly is.

He is a great American.

INC on June 19, 2014 at 11:00 PM

The very best of us.

M240H on June 19, 2014 at 11:01 PM

Ditto M240H.

God Bless you young man. I hope that life is good for you from this day forward; you earned it.

Oldflyer on June 19, 2014 at 11:07 PM

God bless you, Lance Cpl Carpenter

Texyank on June 19, 2014 at 11:10 PM

Scrumpy- yea,, that happens, too.

I imagine it’s hard. Not making excuses.

Some probably can’t deal with it. Don’t enter in to a military marriage with any concept of what it means.

I saw it over just the stress of moving all the time.

Much less trauma. Real trauma.

wolly4321 on June 19, 2014 at 11:10 PM

Wow. Talk about character and bravery. This is America at its best.

WhatSlushfund on June 19, 2014 at 11:12 PM

The award and the uniform speak for themselves. Semper Fi.

The man who placed it around his neck has not earned the right to do so, and it disgusts me that he even touched that medal.

I swear, if I had been awarded the MOH, I’d had to find a way to delay receiving it until that jerk was out of office.

BobMbx on June 19, 2014 at 11:13 PM

My hat will be always off to you! Semper Fidelis!

Krupnikas on June 19, 2014 at 11:19 PM

Lucky for him he’s not stuck in a Mexican jail.

Dan_Yul on June 19, 2014 at 10:37 PM

.
You beat me to it.

I’m wonderin’ if just maybe . . . . . Cpl. William “Kyle” Carpenter might have mentioned the plight of “Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi” privately, to the President ?
.
If so, I’d sure love to know what the response was.

listens2glenn on June 19, 2014 at 11:31 PM

~S~

lexhamfox on June 19, 2014 at 11:37 PM

Dan_Yul on June 19, 2014 at 10:37 PM

.
WHAT????????

Barred on June 19, 2014 at 10:42 PM

.
Sad story, but true …

listens2glenn on June 19, 2014 at 11:38 PM

But I always feel like there’s a turd in the punchbowl with a dog eating potus giving it.

I hate that I have to feel that way, but I do.

wolly4321 on June 19, 2014 at 10:16 PM

You are not alone, my brother. Not. By. A. Longshot.

HiJack on June 19, 2014 at 11:44 PM

God love you, Sir.
You make your Corps, and your nation proud.
Enjoy your life to the fullest.

orangemtl on June 19, 2014 at 11:50 PM

Such a brave man. God bless him and his family.

About the only thing I can see the average Obama voter jumping on is a free phone.

xNavigator on June 20, 2014 at 12:32 AM

The person adorning him is not fit to..
This hero had death visit him yet he opened the door wide for it,fully expecting it to enter.
He gave his life for his brothers & was gifted it back in reward.
I should be so lucky to breathe the same air as he.

DJcool on June 20, 2014 at 12:59 AM

Lost for words, weeping for his selfless courage and all he represents that seems so far beneath his CIC. What a wonderful young man…a true man. His parents must be so proud.

momsaysso on June 20, 2014 at 2:12 AM

.. as we prepare to give Afghanistan back to the Taliban and release the same excrement that tossed the grenade at this hero.
Thank you Cpl. Kyle Carpenter.

V7_Sport on June 20, 2014 at 2:59 AM

To all my fellow Americans and HA readers:

Try to remember this: A young man did not lie on that grenade because he agreed with the mission. And he did not lie on that grenade because he supported US foreign policy. And he did not lie on that grenade because of a particular political ideology. Kyle Carpenter did this unbelievable and heroic act for just one reason: His love for his brothers in arms; his fellow soldiers.

BigAlSouth on June 20, 2014 at 6:09 AM

BigAlSouth on June 20, 2014 at 6:09 AM

.
Winner.

listens2glenn on June 20, 2014 at 8:00 AM

BigAlSouth on June 20, 2014 at 6:09 AM

Well said.

Lance Corporal Carpenter, you are a hero.

dogsoldier on June 20, 2014 at 8:03 AM

Warrior…..

crosshugger on June 20, 2014 at 8:42 AM

Hey Obama, this man raised his right hand and took the same oath as you. He remembers his oath, do you.

crosshugger on June 20, 2014 at 8:48 AM

Bravo Zulu, Corporal. “Greater love” indeed.

On the political side: How many MoHs have been awarded in these conflicts that have been posthumous? Normally the percentage of living recipients is in the single digits, maybe the low teens. I realize that we have significantly better medical capabilities than in the past (by at least an order of magnitude), but I haven’t seen too many stories from Iraq and Afghanistan about MoH recipients who actually gave their life. I really hope this isn’t a political calculation on anyone’s part, if my perceptions are true.

GWB on June 20, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Respect.

Midas on June 20, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Man, just the arm broken in 30 places would be mind-bending agony, much less everything else that happened to him. Jumping on a grenade takes seeds the size of….well…let’s just say you ladies should be lining up for this guy.

Bishop on June 19, 2014 at 10:07 PM

You’ll notice in the list of his injuries that his balls were unscathed. That ought to tell you something right there.

OOHRAH!!

CurtZHP on June 20, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Salutes!

Other words just won’t do it.

hawkdriver on June 20, 2014 at 10:20 AM

A Great American!

Sven on June 20, 2014 at 10:50 AM

There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion.” ~ Gen. William Thornson, U.S. Army

Semper Fi Cpl Carpenter

Well Done Devil Dog

Roy Rogers on June 20, 2014 at 11:04 AM

As a 25 year vet (Viet Nam, USAF Ret.), I salute Lance Cpl. William “Kyle” Carpenter for receiving the highest honor “Medal of Honor” for his instinctive action to protect his fellow Marine(s) no matter the sacrifice. His speech of recognition for those who have done an almost impossible task or putting one of our best trained military members back together again, was well done and presented in a manner befitting a hero.

I am now more than disappointed in the President for not even understanding proper protocol in bestowing the “Medal of Honor” upon the recipient. of this recognition. Specifically, after bestowing the award on a living person it is the Presidents responsibility to fully honor the recipient with a proper salute which is returned by the winner.

In this case Lance Cpl. William “Kyle” Carpenter did the only thing he could do is not to provide the President with a Salute which would have belittled the honor of the award and insult the President.

Semper Fi

MSGTAS on June 21, 2014 at 9:48 AM