Kyle Carpenter doesn't remember what he was thinking before he jumped on top of a Taliban grenade to save his friend's life, but he believes that you were worth sacrificing for.
On Nov. 21, 2010, then-Lance Cpl. Carpenter was manning a rooftop security post on his first deployment to the volatile Helmand Province in Afghanistan when a hand grenade landed near him and his friend, Lance Cpl. Nick Eufrazio. Without hesitation, his award citation for the Medal of Honor says, Carpenter jumped on the deadly explosive and took the brunt of the blast, which ripped through his face and arm with white hot shrapnel.
Badly burned and knocked out, Carpenter flat-lined numerous times after his injury, but miraculously, woke up weeks later in a hospital, minus his right eye and with the much of his body mangled. He endured nearly 40 surgeries and spent almost three years in the hospital recovering, where he had to relearn the basics like walking and tying his shoes.
Now 29, Carpenter is a recipient of the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for combat bravery. He's gone on to graduate from college, run a marathon, go sky-diving, and now, he's authored a memoir — released on Tuesday — that he hopes will inspire people to live a good life despite whatever challenges they might face.
The Medal of Honor Convention is currently taking place in Annapolis, Md., and it has brought together the youngest and oldest living Marine recipients of our nation's highest award for battlefield heroism in a photograph of epic proportions.