This story has a happy ending, with then-Lance Cpl. Kyle Carpenter received a Medal of Honor awarded by then-President Barack Obama for the brave and selfless act when he selflessly jumped on a grenade to protect his fellow marines from the explosion.

Doing Something of A Greater Purpose

Carpenter was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and raised in Flowood by his parents. He enlisted at the age of 19 and completed his recruit training in July 2009. According to an interview, he served in the Marine Corps because he wanted to do something of a greater purpose and bigger than himself, regardless of the uncertainties that lay ahead.

Kyle Carpenter served as an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) gunner. Courtesy of Kyle Carpenter/South Carolina Living

In July 2010, he was assigned in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, to support Operation Enduring Freedom, where he was tasked as a Squad Automatic Weapon gunner. He remembered the crew chief handing him belts of ammo while they were in a helicopter on their way to their post, saying they would probably have an encounter even before they landed. At that moment, Carpenter felt everything was so surreal.

Jumping On The Grenade

On the afternoon of November 21, 2010, Carpenter’s fourth month out of their seven-month-stay in Afghanistan, his group was attacked. They were under sporadic small arms fire, but the enemy forces were able to advance closer while Carpenter’s team was trying to spot their positions. The structures and the vegetation made it difficult for them to see.