On November 21, 2010, Lance Corporal Kyle Carpenter jumped on a grenade in Afghanistan and saved the life of his fellow Marine. This Memorial Day, we remember the sacrifice Carpenter made as the most heroic Gamecock of all time.
Carpenter was born in Jackson, Mississippi but eventually moved with his family to Batesburg, South Carolina. Instead of going the college route out of high school, Carpenter decided to serve his country. He joined the Marine entry program at the age of 19, and his decorated military career started after his training in Parris Island. Carpenter became a Marine, which is one of the toughest military branches in the world, and he was sent off to Afghanistan.
On November 21, 2010, Carpenter’s squad was attacked by the Taliban in Marjah, Afghanistan. Carpenter was positioned on a roof surrounded by sandbags. When the Taliban threw a grenade at the roof, Carpenter jumped on top of it to save his fellow Marine.
Five weeks later, Carpenter woke up from his coma at a hospital in Maryland. He had to be resuscitated three times before he woke up. Carpenter shattered his jaw and his right arm, He lost his right eye along with several teeth. His recovery was long, and he didn’t leave the hospital until February 2011.
After an almost three year recovery and over 30 surgeries, Carpenter decided to enroll at the University of South Carolina where he earned a degree in International Studies. On June 19, 2014, President Barack Obama awarded Carpenter with the prestigious Medal of Honor, which is the highest honor awarded in the U.S. military. He also received a Purple Heart.
In 2017, Carpenter graduated with a Bachelor’s degree. Ever since then, Carpenter has kept his career somewhat private. Despite that, he has made several appearances including an appearance on David Letterman. Carpenter has also spent his time spreading positivity, which is especially seen in his book “You Are Worth It”.
Carpenter’s sacrifice is one that will be remembered for years by the Gamecock community. He’s currently the youngest living Medal of Honor recipient. You can hear more about his story at https://williamkylecarpenter.com/.