William Kyle Carpenter

On November 21, 2010, Carpenter and his team were in their second day of fighting off a Taliban attack in one of a trio of small villages, nicknamed “Shady, Shadier, Shadiest”, in the violence-ridden Marfa district. Carpenter was set up on the roof of a mud hut with Lance Cpl. Nick Eufrazio, when a grenade landed nearby. Carpenter put himself between Eufrazio and the grenade to save the life of his fellow Marine. 

Carpenter suffered an array of catastrophic injuries to his head and arms, including bones broken in more than 30 places and a punctured lung. He was pronounced dead at a military hospital.

Today, after more than 40 surgeries, Cpl. Carpenter is a college student in South Carolina, where legislators passed a resolution in his honor. Carpenter has since run a marathon and appeared in fundraising videos for families of veterans receiving treatment at military hospitals.

His friend Eufrazio, who suffered a traumatic brain injury, continues his recovery.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an Automatic Rifleman with Company F, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division (Forward), 1 Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on 21 November 2010. Lance Corporal Carpenter was a member of a platoon-sized coalition force, comprised of two reinforced Marine squads partnered with an Afghan National Army squad. The platoon had established Patrol Base Dakota two days earlier in a small village in the Marjah District in order to disrupt enemy activity and provide security for the local Afghan population. Lance Corporal Carpenter and a fellow Marine were manning a rooftop security position on the perimeter of Patrol Base Dakota when the enemy initiated a daylight attack with hand grenades, one of which landed inside their sandbagged position. Without hesitation, and with complete disregard for his own safety, Lance Corporal Carpenter moved toward the grenade in an attempt to shield his fellow Marine from the deadly blast. When the grenade detonated, his body absorbed the brunt of the blast, severely wounding him, but saving the life of his fellow Marine. 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.