We had the pleasure of speaking to Kyle Carpenter, who tells us how much his life has changed since 2010. Many know he made a split second decision to jump on an enemy hand grenade, eventually being awarded the Medal of Honor. However, Kyle feels that fateful day, nearly ten years ago, was not the defining moment of his life. Instead, he believes it was only one part of his journey in building a life worth fighting for.
The damage to his body was catastrophic. He flat lined multiple times, and spent years in recovery. Since then, he has ran 3 marathons, gone skydiving, and graduated from the University of South Carolina. Kyle told us his biggest accomplishment, since leaving the hospital, was earning his degree in international studies. He hesitantly admits that the attention has opened some doors. Although, he feels the award does not belong to him, but rather to the Marines he served with.
However, his degree was a personal accomplishment that he is extremely proud of. “The medal didn’t help me do that, meeting the President didn’t help me do that,” Kyle recounts. The surreal moment of walking across the stage was the fulfillment of a promise he made to his parents before joining the Marine Corps. Despite the major in international studies, Kyle was quick to rule out our inquiry of possibly becoming a diplomat. Instead, stating his desire to stay out of politics.
Now a best selling author
In his book, You are worth it, he professes much appreciation for his tutor. Kyle thanked them for making the trip to the hospital every day to help him prepare for his first classes. Additionally, he goes into detail thanking the many healthcare professionals he credits with the miracle of his survival. “Unsung heroes” is how he refers to the people who take care of bed-ridden patients.
Changing bandages and cleaning wounds are an often overlooked necessity, crucial to recovery. Countless other service members were taken care of in similar facilities. Including Nick Eufrazio, the other Marine injured in the same attack. Nick and Kyle were in over 50 firefights together before being wounded. At one point the platoon corpsman, Christopher ‘Doc’ Frend, “had the blood of five Marines on his camis,” recalls Kyle. This being a testament to the harrowing sights combat medics saw frequently.
“I strongly feel none of this would be possible without the team of people who helped me along the way,” he adds to that.
A humble man
Kyle says he is proud of his scars. Inherently, they tell a story and connect you to others. When people say “thank you for your service,” he now responds with “you are worth it.” This deeply profound sentiment speaks to the value of life, and the importance of those around you. The now retired Marine has spoken at hundreds of events and gatherings. Always encouraging others to build a life worth fighting for.
Kyle’s road of rehabilitation was just as inspiring as the heroism he showed on a rooftop in Afghanistan. Few people have persevered with the same determination to stay motivated in all things. In closing, Kyle offers some encouragement to all those struggling. He says, “Sometimes, the hardest of times teaches us the most beautiful of lessons.”