[guest post by Dana]
The extraordinary valor of Marine Cpl. William Kyle Carpenter was etched in scar tissue on his face as President Obama awarded him America’s highest recognition, the Medal of Honor, for shielding a fellow Marine from a hand grenade with his body.
It happened four years ago on a rooftop in Afghanistan. Carpenter, then 21 years old, was with Lance Cpl. Nick Eufrazio. When the grenade landed nearby, Carpenter threw his body between the blast and his buddy from training days.
By absorbing the killing force, Carpenter enabled Eufrazio to come through alive, though both were horribly wounded. Carpenter kept asking the servicemen who rushed to his aid if his friend was okay, even as he prepared to die himself and hospital medics pronounced him dead on arrival.
How happily wrong they were. Carpenter had suffered a skull fracture, punctured lung, pierced carotid artery, 30 fractures in his right arm, shrapnel in both legs. He had lost most of his lower teeth. The explosion also took his right eye.
He spent five weeks in a coma, then more than two-and-a-half years in the hospital, undergoing nearly 40 surgeries. At the age of 24, he is now enrolled at the University of South Carolina.
“I’m totally fine knowing that I gave part of myself to a bigger purpose and a bigger cause ,” Carpenter said.
UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Watch the videos in order:
Thanks to happyfeet.