By: Brooke Kavit
The Marine Corps Times reports that William Kyle Carpenter will receive the Medal of Honor. According to the report, which cites unnamed officials within the Marine Corps, Kyle, a former Marine who was severely injured during a 2010 grenade attack in Afghanistan, will receive the nation's highest award for combat valor later this year.
Carpenter and a Marine Corps spokesperson declined to comment about the claim. The White House has not issued a statement at this time. The Marine Corps Times says that generally Medal of Honor recipients are not publicly announced until a month before the official ceremony.
The 24-year-old South Carolina native spent more than two years recovering in the hospital after intentionally covering a grenade to save the life of his friend, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Eufrazio on November 21, 2010. The two were guarding a rooftop in Afghanistan's treacherous Helmand province. Both men survived the blast, but were severely injured.
Carpenter lost his right eye and most of his teeth, his jaw was shattered and his arm was broken in multiple places. Over 27,000 people have liked his Facebook page Operation Kyle where he has chronicled his recovery.
USA Today reports that in 2011, South Carolina passed a resolution crediting him for saving Eufrazio's life. A photograph of Carpenter in his dress blues with visible schrapnel scars went viral online, and even led to several high-profile television appearances including an interview with Katie Couric.
According to The State, the retired corporal will be only the third Medal of Honor recipient from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and will also be the first honoree from South Carolina since the Vietnam War.
The Marine Corps' investigation into events surrounding the blast has been complicated. There were no direct witnesses, Carpenter suffered memory loss due to trauma and Eufrazio was unable to speak until 2012 due to injury. Troops in Carpenter's unit told The Marine Corps Times they feel based on physical evidence from the blast that he did shield his friend from the explosion though.
"I'm still here and kicking and I have all my limbs so you will never hear me complain," he said in a video interview.
Be sure to watch his full interview with The Marine Corps Times.