William Kyle Carpenter, a Marine Corps veteran who was severely injured in Afghanistan during a November 2010 grenade attack, is scheduled to receive the nation’s highest combat valor award.
Carpenter, 24, will become the service’s third Marine from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to receive the Medal of Honor at a ceremony in Washington later this year, the Marine Corps Times reported. No formal announcement has been made by the White House.
Originally from South Carolina, Carpenter lost his right eye and most of his teeth in the blast, which left him with a disfigured jaw and broken arm after he threw his body over a grenade to save a friend, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Eufrazio.
The 21-year-old Eufrazio was also seriously injured by shrapnel that pierced his brain, but survived the attack.
(Carpenter, pictured left, and Eufrazio, right, in Afghanistan. Photo via the Daily Mail)
According to the Times, investigators could not confirm the details of the incident because neither he nor Eufrazio could remember exactly what happened. Eufrazio has been slowly recovering and regained his ability to speak in late 2012.
Also, there was no one else around to witness the attack, which occurred as the two Marines were standing guard on a rooftop in the Marjah district of Helmand province, Afghanistan.
Marines who served with them, however, said there was no doubt that Carpenter shielded his fellow Marine from the grenade blast, Newsmax reported.
Hospitalman 3rd Class Christopher Frend, who triaged the two Marines, said the grenade detonated underneath Carpenter’s body. Both men were taken to Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., where they were treated.
Carpenter told the Times in an interview that he had been in Afghanistan for five months before the attack.
“We knew the area we were moving into was one of the rougher areas,” he said.
Carpenter underwent more than 30 surgeries after the blast and now wears a glass eye.
"I'm still here and kicking, and I have all my limbs, so you'll never hear me complain," he said.