Joining the military is a big commitment – when a person enlists in the Armed Forces, you make a promise to not just defend their country, but sacrifice your own life in the process if need be.
During the years, we’ve seen many brave and heroic soldiers sacrificing their lives for freedom.
But this young hero took his call of duty to the ultimate level when he threw himself on a grenade to save the lives of his fellow comrades.
Usually when a solider makes the choice to put himself in the line of danger to protect others, its done at the cost of his own life, but not William Kyle Carpenter.
He not only used his body as a shield to save the lives of his fellow Marines, but went on to share his incredible story of selfless courage.
21-year-old Lance Corporal Carpenter was a member of a platoon-sized coalition force deployed to Afghanistan in 2010.
Carpenter and a fellow Marine were manning a rooftop security position when the enemy initiated a daylight attack with hand grenade.
In the midst of a warzone, a grenade landed near one of Carpenter’s comrades and he took no second thought before launching himself on top of the device and absorbing the explosion with his own body.
When the grenade detonated, his body absorbed the brunt of the blast, severely wounding him, but saving the life of his fellow Marine.
Amazingly, Carpenter was not killed. However, shrapnel was embedded all over his body, the bones in his face and skull shattered. He had a collapsed lung and had lost part of his jaw.
At one point, he was even declared dead.
“My body was torn apart by an enemy hand grenade,” Carpenter said.
“Upon arriving at Camp Bastion, I was labeled P.E.A (patient expired on arrival). I flatlined at Walter Reed. The enemy killed me. I came back.”
After the heroic act, Kyle would undergo forty different surgeries to repair the damage left by the grenade. Soon, he received a Purple Heart in recognition of his bravery.
He was also awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama himself.
Kyle later retired from the military and began earning a degree in International Studies at the University of South Carolina.
Today, he helps others through motivation speaking and charitable acts, and has gone on to inspire thousands. When it came time to put his selflessness and courage to the test, he didn’t think twice.
His story serves as a reminder that selflessness often comes at great costs, but that in the end, our sacrifices make us who we are.
Knowing that brave people like Kyle make up our armed forces really helps us rest easier at night.
If you’d like to help returning veterans like Kyle, consider donating to the Wounded Warrior Project, and please share his amazing story with others below.