Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Medal Of Honor Recipient Kyle Carpenter Gets Standing Ovation At College Graduation
Kyle Carpenter says he never went a day at the University of South Carolina without a professor or fellow student thanking him for his sacrifice as a U.S. Marine.
But he admits he also never encountered a moment more special than his last as a USC student, when thousands of his classmates and their families gave the 28-year-old Medal of Honor recipient a rousing standing ovation at graduation.
“That was one of the most incredible moments since I woke up at the hospital and realized I had a second chance at life,” Carpenter said Monday, minutes after receiving his bachelor’s degree in international studies.
Carpenter, from Gilbert, S.C., is best known for his throwing himself onto a live grenade in Afghanistan in 2010 to save a fellow Marine’s life. Miraculously, he survived, even though his heart stopped three times as doctors worked to save him.
The grenade blast took Carpenter’s right eye and injured his left, broke both his eardrums and shattered most of his teeth and lower jaw. He spent five weeks in a coma and the next two years in the hospital, undergoing dozens of surgeries to put his body back together.
Four years later, and a year after enrolling at USC in August 2013, he was awarded the nation’s highest military honor – the Medal of Honor – at 24 years old by then-President Barack Obama.
The award kicked off a new wave of publicity. He was featured on David Letterman and by virtually every major news outlet in America.
His grueling recovery was recounted in magazine features and in documentaries. He made the motivational speaking rounds, appearing before USC’s sports teams, veterans groups and Fortune 500 companies.
He backpacked across Europe, led Williams-Brice Stadium in a “Game-Cocks!” chant took an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., in 2015.
Meanwhile, his Instagram page – appropriately named @chiksdigscars – collected nearly half a million followers.
Carpenter isn’t sure what is in store for him as he hits the job market. He is sure he will continue his motivational speaking and working with veterans groups.
And he wants to say thank you, to his professors and his fellow students.
“My college experience was like everyone else’s. I learned a lot. I gained a new perspective on the world and on people that I’m so thankful and appreciative for,” Carpenter said. “I was first and foremost a fellow Gamecock and friend before a Medal of Honor recipient. I just had a four years that is too special to put into words.”
©2017 The State (Columbia, S.C.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
‘I made promises to the people that I lost’— How the Iraq war forged a Navy SEAL’s path to Harvard Medical School and NASA
Navy Lt. Jonny Kim went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.
However, Kim shared with Task & Purpose that his motivation for living life the way he has stems not so much from starry-eyed ambition, but from the pain and loss he suffered both on the battlefields of Iraq and from childhood instability while growing up in Los Angeles. Kim tells his story in the following Q&A, which was lightly edited for length and clarity:
You can almost smell the gunpowder in the scene captured by a Marine photographer over the weekend, showing a Marine grunt firing a shotgun during non-lethal weapons training.
A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.
Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.
"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."
New Vietnam War movie 'The Last Full Measure' takes some well-deserved shots at the military’s award process
Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.
With ISIS trying to reorganize itself into an insurgency, most attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq are being carried out by Shiite militias, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
"In the time that I have been in Iraq, we've taken a couple of casualties from ISIS fighting on the ground, but most of the attacks have come from those Shia militia groups, who are launching rockets at our bases and frankly just trying to kill someone to make a point," Grynkewich said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.