Sunday, February 15, 2015

U.S. Marine Medal Of Honor Recipient Kyle Carpenter's Transformation ...

After Diving In Front of a Grenade. 

This story was sent to me. I agree with the reader who sent this to me, all Americans should know the amazing story of Kyle Carpenter. It is a story of bravery, of purpose, and of an amazing transformation.

In 2010, Marine L/Cpl. Kyle Carpenter was sent to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The picture below was his Boot Camp graduation picture. Pictures of what he looks like today are below the story of what happened to this Great American, a true American Hero.

Lance Cpl. William "Kyle" Carpenter and Lance Cpl. Nicholas Eufrazio were on a rooftop in Helmand Province in Afghanistan in November 2010 when they were attacked by enemy fighters. 

During the attack, a grenade landed on the roof next to both Marines. 

Without hesitation, Kyle Carpenter threw himself between the grenade and his fellow Marine.

L/Cpl Nicholas Eufrazio "received a shrapnel injury to the head from the grenade." L/Cpl Kyle Carpenter's body "absorbed a majority of the resulting explosion." That's according to the official Marine Corps' account of what took place.

After over 40 surgeries, and almost four years later, U.S. Marine Kyle Carpenter visited White House on June 19th, 2014, and received our nation's highest military honor, the Medal of Honor, from President Obama. 

The award is given to those whose personal acts of valor and bravery go above and beyond the call of duty. 

Kyle Carpenter’s Medal of Honor nomination stems from reports that, as a 21-year-old Lance Corporal (L/Cpl), he intentionally covered a grenade to save the life of his friend and fellow Marine, L/Cpl. Nicholas Eufrazio on November 21st, 2010, as the two Marines were standing guard on a rooftop in the Marjah district of Afghanistan’s Helmand province. 

And yes, though were badly wounded, thank God that both Marines survived the blast.

Kyle Carpenter is America's youngest living Medal of Honor recipient. Also, Marine Corps veteran William Kyle Carpenter became the Marine’s third Medal of Honor recipient since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

It is truly unimaginable what this young man went through. Kyle Carpenter sustained an almost unbelievable array of injuries, including a skull fracture and a punctured lung. And yes, believe it or not, doctors at a military hospital pronounced him dead on arrival -- they were absolutely sure he wouldn't survive.

At the ceremony last June, 2014, Obama told those in attendance, "The man you see before you today, Cpl. William "Kyle" Carpenter, should not be alive today." .

Describing the killing force of a hand grenade, Obama said, "We are here because this man, this United States Marine, faced down that terrible explosive power, that unforgiving force, with his own body, willingly and deliberately, to protect a fellow Marine."

"With that singular act of courage, Kyle, you not only saved your brother in arms, you displayed a heroism in the blink of an eye that will inspire for generations -- valor worthy of our nation's highest military decoration," he added.

Kyle Carpenter, who is now a retired Marine Corporal and presently a college student, told CBS News that he never expected to get hit on that day in 2010 -- though he did come under fire at that same location the day before.

In 2012, Kyle Carpenter was also featured in correspondent Chip Reid's report on combat sketch artists.

"All the grenades the day before had actually come inside the compound that they had thrown over the walls," he said. "None had hit the roof or landed on the roof yet."

Today, he recalls that after the grenade landed, he threw himself at it, and it went off just a moment before he landed on it.  "The first thing I remember is just feeling like my entire body, and especially my face just got hit really hard with a 2x4. Like a TV without cable, just like the white and gray static screen -- that's what my vision looked like."

When other Marines arrived on the roof, Cpl Carpenter said, "I told them I was not gonna make it, and I kept telling them over and over that I was gonna die."

He recalls how the doctors at the nearby military medical facility agreed.

"I was labeled 'P-E-A,' which is 'patient expired on arrival.' I guess that's the politically correct way of saying you didn't make it."

In addition to his skull fracture and punctured lung, Cpl. Carpenter was blinded in his right eye, both of his eardrums were both ruptured, the carotid artery in his neck was punctured, he'd suffered 30 fractures to his right arm, shrapnel in both legs, and he lost most of his lower teeth.

Through a succession of more than three dozen surgeries, Kyle Carpenter said the staff at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center did a "phenomenal" job of making him whole again.

"I'm very pleased with how far I've come, and I see my injuries and my scars and all my buddies and everybody that was at Walter Reid with me, you know I see it almost as a form of character," he said.

"I'm totally fine knowing that I gave part of myself to a bigger purpose and a bigger cause, to not only serve my country but try to make a better way of life for other people and much less fortunate people."

The president praised Cpl. Carpenter's medical team, saying their example of excellence should inform the ongoing efforts to reform the troubled Veterans Affairs medical system.

"So many of our wounded warriors from today's wars are alive not just because of remarkable advances in technology, but primarily because of the extraordinary dedication and skill of our military and our VA medical professionals," Obama said.  "So we need to keep doing everything we can in our power to give our wounded warriors and those who treat them the support that they need."

This statement by President Obama is in stark contrast to his 2009 attempts at trying to cut the medical services of our returning wounded and veterans in general.

In fact, in 2009, President Barrack Hussein Obama tried to make our wounded warriors pay for their own treatment and after care therapy.

During the attack in 2010, L/Cpl Nicholas Eufrazio sustained a traumatic brain injury due to shrapnel from the grenade explosion, and his recovery continues today.

Kyle Carpenter said of his fellow Marine. "He's come a long way. He's recovering and I'm very proud of him."

At the ceremony, Obama also saluted Nicholas Eufrazio by saying, "Nick also suffered grievous wounds. As a result of traumatic brain injury, he couldn't speak for more than a year.  He also endured multiple surgeries. Today, his recovery continues.  He lives at home with his family in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where he is watching this ceremony.  So, Nick, on behalf of all of us, I want you to know we honor your sacrifice as well. Your perseverance is an inspiration."

Despite the recognition he's received, Cpl. Kyle Carpenter insisted his actions were well within the ordinary scope of a Marine's duty.

"You always hear 'band of brothers,' and that's exactly what we are," he said.

"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."

This is what Kyle Carpenter looks like today.

Though Cpl Carpenter’s face is marked by shrapnel scars from the grenade’s explosion, his heart is pure and great and brave. 

He is a man to be respected and admired.  A man to be saluted.  And yes, his story should be told in schools across the nation as an example to others -- an example of courage and selflessness, of strength of character, of true self-sacrifice, of that what is noble.

God Bless Kyle Carpenter for being the man he is. God Bless this American Marine. God Bless the Marine Corps. 

Semper Fi! 

Tom Correa

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment.