A Marine who shielded a friend from a 2010 grenade blast at a rooftop security post in Afghanistan will receive the Medal of Honor, the Marine Corps Times reports.
In November 2010, Kyle Carpenter, then a 21-year-old lance corporal, intentionally shielded Lance Cpl. Nicholas Eufrazio from a grenade that landed on the rooftop they were standing guard on in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.
The explosion took Carpenter’s right eye and most of his teeth, while also shattering his jaw and breaking his arm. Eufrazio survived, but suffered damage to the frontal lobe of his brain.
The Marine Corps’ investigation into the events surrounding the grenade attack — a measure taken when considering awarding medals of valor — was slow-going, according to the Marine Corps Times. Carpenter and Eufrazio were the only two present at the blast.
Carpenter also said he couldn’t remember how the event unfolded, and Eufrazio was unable to speak until late 2012.
But other Marines express confidence Carpenter acted heroically.
“Grenade blasts blow up; they don’t blow down,” Hospitalman 3rd Class Christopher Frend explained to the Marine Corps Times. “If he hadn’t done it, what we found would have looked completely different.”
Nominations for the Medal of Honor have a statute of limitations of three years after the heroic event takes place. That time limitation pressed the Marine Corps Times to inquire about the possible award for Carpenter. Neither the White House nor the Marine Corps confirmed for the Times whether Carpenter would receive the commendation, the nation’s highest military honor.
Carpenter has recovered well since the blast, which required over 30 surgeries in total. The now medically retired Marine ran the Marine Corps Marathon in just under four-and-a-half hours.
Carpenter’s award would be the third given to a Marine in the post-9/11 era.
Jason Dunham was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for shielding a grenade blast in 2004. Dakota Meyer was given the Medal for rescuing dozens of civilians and fellow Marines during an ambush in the 2009 Battle of Ganjal in Afghanistan.
Marine Corps officials are coordinating plans for an awards ceremony with the White House, the Marine Corps Times reported.
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