Marine Lance Cpl. Kyle Carpenter will receive a Medal of Honor for his bravery in throwing himself in front of another soldier to take the brunt of a grenade explosion in Afghanistan in 2010.
Carpenter is only the eighth living person who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan to receive the Medal of Honor, Newsday reported
Though Carpenter told Newsday his memories of the incident are unclear, he does remember what happened right after the grenade exploded.
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"I remember my buddies yelling at me; it sounded like they were a football field away. I remember them yelling, you know, 'you're gonna make it, you're gonna make it,'" he said. "And I just kept trying to tell them that I was gonna die . . . I asked for forgiveness . . . I wanted to go to heaven."
Carpenter’s injuries were severe — he lost his right eye and much of his jaw, and shattered multiple bones, according to Newsday. Luckily, doctors were able to save his arm and reconstruct his face.
Carpenter, 24, was medically retired from the Marines after he was wounded and currently attends the University of South Carolina fulltime, according to a White House release.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, which he'll receive at a ceremony June 19, he has also earned a Purple Heart, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals, and a Combat Action Ribbon.
Carpenter told Newsday that the hardest part of his ordeal was learning to lean on other people.
"Going from toting a machine gun in Afghanistan . . . to using a bed pan and I can't even put my own socks on," he said, "it took eight months or so to be able to put my socks on, on my own, but it was a long eight months. But I guess that was the hardest part. Letting other people help me."
Since his recovery, Carpenter has been skydiving and even ran the Marine Corps Marathon last year, Newsday reported.
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