All servicemembers deserve praise for the service to their country, but some like Marine Lance Cpl. William Kyle Carpenter go so far above and beyond their call of duty that even the highest praise awarded by the U.S. may not seem like enough.
Initially wounded in a 2010 grenade attack in Afghanistan, Carpenter will most likely be the latest veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to receive the Medal of Honor, according to the Marine Corps Times. Carpenter would be the 10th soldier and second Marine to receive the award since the wars began.
According to the Marine Corps Times, in 2010 Carpenter was standing guard alongside Lance Cpl. Nicholas Eufrazio on a rooftop in Marjah district of Afghanistan when an unidentified insurgent lobbed a grenade in front of the soldiers' feet. Without time to act, Carpenter laid his body over the grenade and possibly saved Eufrazio's life in the process.
Stars and Stripes explained that the recommendation for the Medal of Honor comes almost four years later because it proved difficult for Marine investigators to determine what actually happened during the attack. Other than Carpenter and Eufrazio, there were no other witnesses. Due to the injuries both soldiers sustained from the blast, Carpenter was left unable to remember any details of the incident, while Eufrazio was not able to speak due to his injuries until 2012.
Medical examiners initially determined that from the location of the blast on Carpenter's torso, there could be no other explanation than Carpenter sacrificing himself to save the life of his friend.
Media attention and the Medal of Honor
Carpenter has received increased media attention recently as a result of several interviews with Reader's Digest and an appearance on Katie Couric's nationally televised talk show. Even as he is about to receive the nation's highest honor, Carpenter promised on a Facebook page dedicated to him called "Operation Kyle" that he would never take his second chance at life for granted.
"I just want to thank and remind all of you how much it means and how truly appreciative I am for every comment, message, word of encouragement and prayer you have sent my way since that day in November 2010," Carpenter wrote. "You have helped get me to where I am today and for that I will be forever grateful."