Officials are still researching to determine what exactly happened at a guard post in a particularly dangerous region of southern Afganistan on November 21, 2010. Some Marines who were there say that their colleague Lance Cpl. William Kyle Carpenter sacrificed his body to shield others from an enemy grenade blast. Carpenter survived the blast, but officials are still trying to piece together the details of what exactly happened that day.
The Marine Corps Times reports that Carpenter and Lance Cpl. Nick Eufrazio were at a guard post near Marjah, Afghanistan, in November 2010 when insurgents chucked a hand grenade on a roof where the two Marines were posting security.
The case is complicated for Carpenter says he doesn't remember what happened and Eufrazio has been tragically unable to speak due to brain damage suffered as a complication from the incident. All of the Marines interviewed for the Marine Corps Times story were close when the grenade exploded, but could only hear it and respond. However, several readers of the story who claim to have been there have reached out to the Times since the story was first reported, claiming that Carpenter deserves the Medal of Honor.
LCpl Jared Lilly writes:
"First off there is no '-or not?'. I was there that day, I was the first one on the roof and I saw the aftermath. There is no doubt in my mind that Kyle jumped on that grenade. Grenades push everything away when they blow up not draw them to the blast seat. Kyle’s upper body was positioned directly on top of the blast seat. Thats the kinda of guy that Kyle was, and Nick was like his little brother. Kyle would have done anything to protect him and he did, to try and associate any doubt with that is shameful. Kyle commited his body to making the ultimate sacrifice it just wasn’t his time. He didn’t try to throw the grenade away and lose a hand, he didn’t try to cover it with a kevlar, he covered that grenade just as he approached everything in life, with everything he had. I didn’t need to be an eye witness to what happened to know what happened that day, Kyle did everything in his power to save his friends life and did."
HM3 Christopher Frend says:
"As the corpsman at the base. I was working on carpenter, the extent of his injuries sustained that day it’s only proof enough that this young man rolled onto the grenade that day. If he had not done it the injuries he should of received would of been on the left side of his body not the right. as of the no witness part. A whole squad was there to witness this event and if that’s not enough then the science and physics behind it will prove it true. any one that deals with explosives can tell you that grenades blow up…….they don’t blow down. Kyle will always be a hero."
The Times reports that the state legislature in Carpenter's native South Carolina honored him with a resolution claiming he “took the full blast from an enemy hand grenade in seeking to save a fellow Marine.” Carpenter and Eufrazio are the only two eyewitnesses to what happened that day on the outskirts of Marjah. The Corps are continuing to investigate the incident, officials tell the Times, and it’s unclear whether all of their questions ever will be answered.
The Times reports that since the incident Carpenter has become an ambassador, of sorts, for the Marine Corps and its wounded warriors, inspiring family, friends and fellow Marines with his undying optimism in the face of a difficult recovery.
Carpenter describes his ordeal to the Times:
(H/T: Business Insider)