WASHINGTON, March 6 (UPI) -- President Obama will award the nation's highest combat honor to Marine Corps veteran William Kyle Carpenter, who fell on a grenade to save the life of a friend in Afghanistan in 2010.
Carpenter, 24, a medically retired corporal, was serving in the Marjah district of Afghanistan's Helmand province, and intentionally covered a thrown grenade to save the life of his friend, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Eufrazio. Although no one knows for sure what happened in the moments following the blast, an investigation into the incident illuminated Carpenter's heroic act.
Both he and Eufrazio were severely wounded in the blast. Carpenter lost his right eye and most of his teeth, and suffered a shattered jaw and arm. Eufrazio was hit in the head by shrapnel and damage to the frontal lobe of his brain, which made it impossible for him to speak until recently. Carpenter says he does not remember the attack.
"Our feeling has always been that Kyle shielded Nick from that blast," said Staff Sgt. Michael Kroll, Carpenter's platoon sergeant. And Hospitalman 3rd Class Christopher Frend, who triaged the injuries of both men, said the blast site and their wounds indicated Carpenter indeed intentionally covered the grenade.
“Grenade blasts blow up; they don’t blow down,” Frend said in 2012. “If he hadn’t done it, what we found would have looked completely different.”
A report from the Marine Corps Times, which began inquiring into Carpenter's status for receiving the honor because of the nearing 3-year statute of limitations on formal recommendations, learned the Marine Corps was finalizing plans for a White House ceremony later this year.
Carpenter will become just the third veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to receive the Medal of Honor. It's unclear when the ceremony will take place, but the White House typically announces such presentations about a month in advance.
[Marine Corps Times]