American Hero: U.S. Marine Corporal William Kyle Carpenter veteran of the war in Afghanistan receives the Medal of Honor.
On November 21, 2010, Carpenter and Lance Corporal Nicholas Eufrazio were severely wounded in a grenade attack in Helmand Province as the two men stood guard on a rooftop. After the attack, marines from Carpenter’s unit said he had covered the grenade with his own body to save Eufrazio. According to Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Frend, who triaged Carpenter, this scenario is supported by the nature of his wounds, which indicated the grenade exploded under his chest. Since a grenade thrown on the rooftop would have detonated up and out, Frend said Carpenter’s injuries were consistent with him jumping on the weapon to smother its blast.
Blake Schreiber also served in Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines. He was standing guard at a different post, attacked at the same time as Carpenter and Eufrazio. Schreiber told the Times he heard a sound like a softball hitting the roof near him, the target of a second grenade that turned out to be a dud. Describing the attack, he continued, “I could only see half their bodies; you could see [Carpenter] falling down toward [the grenade]. I had looked away for a quick second. And that’s when the booms went off. There was screaming, everybody moving fast. The reaction time was insane.”
Carpenter lost an eye in the explosion and suffered serious wounds to his face and side. His years-long recovery has included over 30 surgeries and a stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
After learning Carpenter would receive the award, Schreiber said, “I know what it takes to get something like this. Just to know he’s going to be recognized for what he did, it’s what he deserves, and I’m so happy that he gets that.”
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Story by Brian Van Reet