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Corporal Kyle Carpenter Awarded the Medal of Honor

7:19 AM, Jun 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
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And our thoughts are also with the Marine who Kyle saved that day, his brother, Nick. I had the opportunity to meet Nick as well nearly two years after the blast on one of my visits to Walter Reed. Nick also suffered grievous wounds. As a result of traumatic brain injury, he couldn’t speak for more than a year. He also endured multiple surgeries. Today, his recovery continues. He lives at home with his family in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where he is watching this ceremony. So, Nick, on behalf of all of us, I want you to know we honor your sacrifice as well. Your perseverance is an inspiration. And just as Kyle was there for you, our nation will be there for you and your family as you grow stronger in the years ahead.

If any of our wounded warriors seek an example -- let me amend that -- if any American seeks a model of the strength and resilience that define us as a people, including this newest 9/11 generation, I want you to consider Kyle. After everything he’s been through, he skis, he snowboards, he’s jumped from a plane -- with a parachute, thankfully. (Laughter.) He trudged through a 6-mile Mud Run, completed the Marine Corps Marathon, says he wants to do a triathlon. He’s a motivational speaker, an advocate for his fellow wounded warriors. He’s thinking about majoring in psychology so he can use his own experiences to help others. He got stellar grades. And, by the way, he’s only 24 years old, and says, “I am just getting started.”

In other words, Kyle is a shining example of what our nation needs to encourage -- these veterans who come home and then use their incredible skills and talents to keep our country strong. And we can all learn from Kyle’s example.

As we prepare for the reading of the citation, I’d like to close with his own words -- a message, I think, for every American. “It took a life-changing event to get me to truly appreciate the precious and amazing life I have been blessed with. Please take it from me, enjoy every day to the fullest, don't take life too seriously, always try to make it count, appreciate the small and simple things, be kind and help others, let the ones you love always know you love them, and when things get hard trust there is a bigger plan and that you will be stronger for it.” Pretty good message.

Corporal William Kyle Carpenter should not be alive today, but the fact that he is gives us reason to trust that there is indeed a bigger plan. So God bless you, Kyle. God bless all who serve and protect the precious and amazing life that we are blessed with. May God continue to bless and keep strong the United States of America. Semper Fi. (Applause.)

MILITARY AIDE: The President of the United States, in the name of the Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Lance Corporal William Kyle Carpenter, United States Marine Corps, 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, 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.

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 Marja 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 towards 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, Lance Corporal Carpenter reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

(The Medal of Honor is presented.)

(Prayer is offered.)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, that brings us to the conclusion of this ceremony, but not the reception and party. And so I want to thank everybody again for being here, especially Kyle’s wonderful family and his parents. And I understand that the food here at the White House is pretty good -- (laughter) -- so I already told Kyle’s brothers that they should be chowing down. But that goes for everybody else as well -- and I think the drinks are free. I don’t know what -- although it’s still early in the afternoon.

Thank you very much, everybody.

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