William Kyle Carpenter MOH

b. 17/10/1989 Flowood, Mississippi.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 21/10/2010 Helmand, Afghanistan.

William K Carpenter MOH

Carpenter, who prefers Kyle, was born in Jackson, Mississippi on October 17, 1989, and raised in Flowood by his parents Robert and Robin. He enlisted in the Marine Corps’ delayed entry program at age 19 in February 2009, and completed Recruit Training in July 2009 at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina.

After completing his initial training at the Camp Geiger School of Infantry, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Private First Class Carpenter was assigned to Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team One, 1st Marine Division (Forward), 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on 21 November 2010, where he served as a Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) gunner from September 2009 to November 2010.

In July 2010, Lance Corporal Carpenter deployed to Marjah, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. On November 21, 2010, while joining his team to fight off a Taliban attack in a small village, he suffered severe injuries to his face and right arm from the blast of an enemy hand grenade, including multiple shrapnel wounds and the loss of his right eye. After-action reports state that he threw himself in front of the grenade to protect a fellow Marine, Lance Cpl. Nick Eufrazio.

At Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the difficult and long road to recovery started. During nearly two and a half years of surgeries and gruelling rehabilitation, Kyle endured several procedures, including brain surgery to remove shrapnel from his head, and around 40 surgeries to repair a collapsed lung, fractured fingers and broken right arm. He also received multiple skin grafts, a prosthetic eye and a new jaw.

On June 19, 2014, Corporal Carpenter received the Medal of Honor at a ceremony in the White House in Washington, D.C from President Barack Obama. He is the eighth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan. Kyle commented following his investiture “As the President put the Medal of Honor around my neck, I felt the history and the weight of the nation,” Kyle said in a statement after the medal ceremony. “I will wear it for those who have been wounded on distant lands who still continue to fight in battle, and through long and difficult days of recovery here at home. And for those who have given it all, I can never express in words what you mean for this nation.”

After his July 2013 medical retirement, Carpenter enrolled at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, to complete a degree in international studies. He is a 2013 initiate of the Chi-Omega chapter of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity at the University of South Carolina.

In 2015, Kyle was the first military veteran to be inducted into the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Kyle received the “Portrait Of A Nation” prize alongside Hank Aaron and Aretha Franklin.

In 2019, Kyle published his autobiography, You are Worth It: Building A Life Worth Fighting For. It not only tells the story of the events leading up to November 21st, 2010 and the recovery period which followed, but it is also a story of rebirth and overcoming adversity, of how Kyle battled back from the gravest challenge to forge a life of joyful purpose. His autobiography earned him a 2019, Silver Nautilus Book Award under the Heroic Journeys category. Kyle now travels the US and world as a motivational speaker. In 2021, he joined the Board of the Headstrong Project, an organisation which works to support the mental health and rehabilitation of veterans. He lives in North Carolina with his fiancee, Brittany.



For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an Automatic Rifleman with Company F, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on 21 November 2010. Lance Corporal Carpenter was a member of a platoon-sized coalition force, comprised of two reinforced Marine rifle squads partnered with an Afghan National Army squad. The platoon had established Patrol Base Dakota two days earlier in a small village in the Marjah District in order to disrupt enemy activity and provide security for the local Afghan population. Lance Corporal Carpenter and a fellow Marine were manning a rooftop security position on the perimeter of Patrol Base Dakota when the enemy initiated a daylight attack with hand grenades, one of which landed inside their sandbagged position. Without hesitation and with complete disregard for his own safety, Lance Corporal Carpenter moved toward the grenade in an attempt to shield his fellow Marine from the deadly blast. When the grenade detonated, his body absorbed the brunt of the blast, severely wounding him, but saving the life of his fellow Marine. By his undaunted courage, bold fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of almost certain death.