President Obama presented Retired Cpl. William "Kyle" Carpenter with the Medal of Honor at a ceremony held at the White House Thursday afternoon. The award is given to those who have acted valiantly and have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Carpenter is the eighth living recipient of the Medal and will be the youngest living recipient of it.
In November 2010, Carpenter and Lance Cpl. Nicholas Eufrazio were on a rooftop in Helmand Province in Afghanistan. Enemy fighters attacked them. Shortly after, a live grenade landed on the roof next to the two men. Carpenter quickly threw himself between the grenade and Eufrazio.
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Eufrazio "received a shrapnel injury to the head" from the grenade. Carpenter "absorbed a majority of the resulting explosion," an official Marine Corps’ account of the incident reported
Carpenter’s injuries included a skull fracture, punctured lung, blinded in one eye, both of his eardrums were ruptured, the carotid artery in his beck was punctured, and he had suffered from 30 fractures to his right arm, shrapnel in both legs, and most of his lower teeth were gone. He was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital, as doctors were certain he did not a chance at survival. Carpenter proved them wrong, however: he underwent 40 surgeries in 4 years.
Despite his heroic actions, Carpenter remains humble. "You always hear ‘band of brothers,' and that's exactly what we are. I'll say I'm not surprised and no way patting myself on the back, because I know that if you put a thousand Marines in that situation, they would all do the same exact thing for me," Carpenter previously said.