Mississippi-born Marine Corps veteran Kyle Carpenter Thursday became the third Magnolia State native to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for military valor. On Nov. 21, 2010, in the Marjah district of Afghanistan, a Taliban stronghold, Marine Cpl. Carpenter made the split-second decision to cover an enemy-launched grenade with his body in an attempt to shield his fellow Marines, the Associated Press reports.
Born in Jackson in 1989, Carpenter lived in Forest and Brandon with his parents, Jim and Robin, until he was about 5 years old. Jim Carpenter worked for McCarty Foods. The family later settled in Gilbert, S.C., where Kyle attended high school, AP reports.
“But even though they moved up there, I still consider Kyle a Mississippian,” his 78-year-old maternal grandmother, Kate Pitts of Laurel, who was to attend Thursday’s ceremony, told the AP. “He was born in this state. Other than one aunt in Charlotte, the rest of his family is in Mississippi. His daddy was born in Iuka and still has family there.”
The Washington Post reports in detail on the efforts of Carpenter’s fellow Marines to save the badly wounded Carpenter, whose body was still smoking when they got to him.
The injuries were horrific: He’d sustained catastrophic wounds to his face and arms, and dozens of broken bones. He was bleeding badly, and sure he would die, he says in the Post report.