A U.S. Marine has received the highest military distinction for bravery – the Medal of Honor – after he saved another Marine from a live grenade in Afghanistan.
Retired Marine Lance Cpl. William "Kyle" Carpenter is set to become the eighth living recipient of the award today, as well as the third Marine to be given the award since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Fox News reports.
The 24-year-old Jackson, Mississippi native was deployed to Afghanistan in July 2010 as an automatic weapons gunner. In November of that year, he was stationed in the mostly Taliban-controlled Marjah district. He and his “best friend” Lance Cpl. Nicholas Eufrazio were on a rooftop providing security for a compound when Carpenter reportedly threw his body over an enemy-launched grenade so that Eufrazio, whom Carpenter called his "best friend," would not be killed.
Both men were wounded in the attack. Carpenter lost his right eye and the majority of his teeth, USA Today reports. His right arm was broken, his jaw was “blown off” and he suffered from shrapnel trapped inside of his body.
Carpenter reportedly made a miraculous recovery, despite being labeled as a “patient expired on arrival” by doctors, reports Business Insider. He says he made it out of Afghanistan by thinking about his family and how “disappointed” they would be if he did not come home alive.
Despite being hailed as a hero, Carpenter insists his actions were not extraordinary.
“It’s a huge honor and I’m very appreciative and I’m very humbled by it, but at the same time there is – not just from Iraq and Afghanistan, but previous wars since this country was founded – there have been those who didn’t make it back and had worse injuries than mine,” Carpenter told Fox News. “Courageous things happen on the battlefield every day and all of us raise our right hand in the exact same way to serve our country.”