The Story of William Kyle Carpenter…A War Hero

If the name William Kyle Carpenter doesn’t ring a bell to you, then you’ve probably never heard his story –  a story that shows just how far a United States Marine is willing to go to not only defend his country, but ensure the safety of his fellow servicemen and servicewomen – even in the face of almost certain death. 

William Kyle Carpenter was just a 19-year-old kid when he decided to join the United States Marine Corps’ delayed entry program – a program that allows recruits (men and women) to delay their departure for recruit training. By July 2009, Carpenter had completed recruit training and was off to Camp Lejeune.

Good morning from the Washington Monument

Posted by Kyle Carpenter on Thursday, October 28, 2021

Twelve months later, Carpenter received his first assignment as a Private First Class. He joined Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team One, 1st Marine Division (Forward), 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), where he served as an Automatic Rifleman starting in September 2009. 

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William Kyle Carpenter was sent to Helmand, Province, Afghanistan with a platoon-sized coalition force that was tasked with assisting the Afghan National Army in protecting their civilians – who were under attack. On November 19, 2010, his squad set up a base inside a small village in the Marjah District. 

I never thought I would wear my uniform again, since my ceremony in 2014, but I know he would have loved it. Grateful to be celebrating you and your extraordinary life Woody.

Posted by Kyle Carpenter on Saturday, July 16, 2022

There, they were tasked with disrupting enemy activity and ensuring the safety of the local population. On November 21, just two days after their arrival, the squad was attacked in broad daylight – at the time, Kyle Carpenter was accompanied by a fellow Marine on a rooftop along the perimeter of Patrol Base Dakota. 

Things took a turn for the worse when a hand grenade landed in the sandbagged position that Carpenter and his comrade were in. Instead of protecting himself, William Kyle Carpenter moved his body toward the grenade to ensure his comrade was unharmed by it – with complete disregard for his own safety.

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Posted by Kyle Carpenter on Friday, March 24, 2023

The grenade detonated just moments later with Carpenter’s body absorbing the brunt of the explosion – an explosion that didn’t kill Carpenter, but left him severely wounded. He lost his right eye, a majority of his teeth, shattered his right arm in 30 different places, and shattered his jaw – but they were both alive.

William Kyle Carpenter Presented With Highest Military Honor

William Kyle Carpenter was just 21 years old when he thrust himself toward a grenade to shield his fellow Marine. He was unconscious for five weeks and the recovery process took more than three years, which he spent at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center before being medically retired as a Corporal.

On June 19, 2014 – roughly one year after being medically retired – William Kyle Carpenter was awarded the military’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor, by then-President Barack Obama. He praised Carpenter for his ‘conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.’ 

“By his undaunted courage, bold fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of almost certain death, Lance Corporal Carpenter reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service,” Obama said of Carpenter in 2014.

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William Kyle Carpenter has achieved a lot since 2014. He received the ‘Portrait Of A Nation’ prize, was inducted into the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, published his first autobiography, graduated from the University of South Carolina, and became a loving husband to his wife, Brittany, in November 2021.  

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