Veteran wounded by grenade gets Medal of Honor

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Cpl. William "Kyle" Carpenter Medal of Honor
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Veteran wounded by grenade gets Medal of Honor
President Barack Obama awards retired Marine Cpl. William "Kyle" Carpenter, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry, Thursday, June 19, 2014, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Carpenter received the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as an Automatic Rifleman in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Obama to award Marine Medal of Honor
President Barack Obama shakes hands with retired Marine Cpl. William "Kyle" Carpenter after awarding him the Medal of Honor, Thursday, June 19, 2014, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Carpenter took a blow from a grenade to protect a fellow Marine in Afghanistan, sustaining major wounds including the loss of his right eye. He is the eighth living recipient to be chosen for the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 19: Retired Marine Cpl. William 'Kyle' Carpenter receives the Medal of Honor from U.S. President Barack Obama during a Medal of Honor ceremony in the East Room of the White House on June 19, 2014 in Washington, DC. Carpenter received the medal for taking the blast from a grenade to protect fellow Marines and sustained major wounds. Carpenter is the eighth living recipient chosen for the high honor. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama awards the Medal of Honor to retired Marine Cpl. William "Kyle" Carpenter, Thursday, June 19, 2014, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Carpenter took a blow from a grenade to protect a fellow Marine in Afghanistan, sustaining major wounds including the loss of his right eye. He is the eighth living recipient to be chosen for the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
US President Barack Obama awards the Medal of Honor to US Marine Cpl William 'Kyle' Carpenter during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, DC, June 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama awards the Medal of Honor to retired Marine Cpl. William "Kyle" Carpenter, Thursday, June 19, 2014, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Carpenter took a blow from a grenade to protect a fellow Marine in Afghanistan, sustaining major wounds including the loss of his right eye. He is the eighth living recipient to be chosen for the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk with retired Marine Cpl. William "Kyle" Carpenter, before the president presented him the Medal of Honor, Thursday, June 19, 2014, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Carpenter took a blow from a grenade to protect a fellow Marine in Afghanistan, sustaining major wounds including the loss of his right eye. He is the eighth living recipient to be chosen for the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
This photo taken May 13, 2014 shows Medically retired Marine Lance Cpl. Kyle Carpenter speaking to media at the Pentagon. On June 19, 2014, President Barack Obama will award Carpenter the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as an Automatic Rifleman with Company F, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
This photo taken May 13, 2014 shows medically retired Marine Lance Cpl. Kyle Carpenter indicates his arm as he talks about his many injuries with media at the Pentagon. The White House announced Monday that Carpenter, 24, will receive the medal of honor on June 19. He is the 15th recipient of the medal for service in Iraq and Afghanistan, the eighth still alive. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
This photo taken May 13, 2014 shows medically retired Marine Lance Cpl. Kyle Carpenter lifting his shirt to show a tattoo on his side as he speaks with media at the Pentagon. The tattoo reads "Blessed be the Lord my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle. The White House announced Monday that Carpenter, 24, will receive the medal of honor on June 19. He is the 15th recipient of the medal for service in Iraq and Afghanistan, the eighth still alive. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
This photo taken May 13, 2014 shows Medically retired Marine Lance Cpl. Kyle Carpenter speaking to media at the Pentagon. On June 19, 2014, President Barack Obama will award Carpenter the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as an Automatic Rifleman with Company F, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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By JOSH LEDERMAN
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama bestowed the Medal of Honor Thursday on an Afghan veteran who took the blow from a grenade to save a fellow Marine, praising him for displaying the type of valor that will inspire generations.

In a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Obama placed the blue ribbon around the neck of retired Cpl. William "Kyle" Carpenter as family, military members and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel looked on. In all likelihood, Carpenter should have died that day in Afghanistan, Obama said, but the fact he survives gives the nation reason to believe in a higher power.

"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."

Carpenter, now 24, was wounded Nov. 21, 2010, while guarding a patrol base in a small village in Helmand province.

Marine Becomes Youngest Living Medal Of Honor Recipient

According to the Marine Corps, Carpenter and Lance Cpl. Nicholas Eufrazio were assigned to provide security from a rooftop post, their presence concealed only by a circle of sandbags piled three to four high.

Enemy forces, which had moved in while hidden by walls from a compound across the street, lobbed three grenades into the patrol base. One injured an Afghan National Army soldier. The second did not detonate.

The third landed close to Carpenter and Eufrazio.

Carpenter placed himself between the grenade and Eufrazio to shield him. The blast deflected down, with Carpenter absorbing most of the explosion.

Eufrazio received a head injury from shrapnel. But Carpenter was severely wounded, sustaining a depressed skull, a collapsed right lung, multiple facial fractures, the loss of a third of his lower jaw and fragment injuries to his arms and legs.

He was immediately evacuated and required brain surgery. He lost his right eye due to his injuries.

"You displayed a valor in the blink of an eye that will inspire generations," Obama said.

Carpenter was a patient at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, until his retirement for medical reasons last July.

He is a native of Flowood, Mississippi, and now studies at the University of South Carolina.

Obama has presented the Medal of Honor to 39 members of the armed services in the first six years of his presidency.

Medal Of Honor Recipient Kyle Carpenter Is More Than Deserving Of Honor

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