Our view

Keep medal winner in South Carolina

June 25, 2014 

Marine Lance Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, flanked by his parents, Robert and Robin Carpenter of Gilbert, laughs during a press conference Wednesday at the state statehouse. Lance Cpl. Carpenter was injured by a hand grenade in Afghanistan and was honored in the senate chambers.

TRACY GLANTZ — TGLANTZ@THESTATE.COM

  • In summary

    Kyle Carpenter, recipient of the Medal of Honor and a student at USC, would be a good addition to the state.

When former Marine Cpl. William “Kyle” Carpenter, 24, graduates from the University of South Carolina, we hope he’ll stay in the Palmetto State. He undoubtedly will have a lot to offer wherever he chooses to reside.

He already has nearly sacrificed his life for his country and for fellow Marines in Helmland province, Afghanistan. Carpenter was awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military medal of valor, for actions in the heat of battle in 2010, in which he saved a buddy’s life and nearly lost his own.

The Medal of Honor usually is awarded posthumously. Carpenter is just the eighth living recipient to be awarded the medal.

As President Barack Obama noted before draping the medal around Carpenter’s neck, he was so badly injured he “should not be alive today.”

Carpenter was under fire with his best friend, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Eufrazio, when a live grenade landed near them. Carpenter, without hesitating, fell on the grenade and took the brunt of the blast, although Eufrazio also was grievously wounded.

Still conscious when fellow Marines came to rescue him, Carpenter asked whether Eufrazio was OK. Both survived, but Carpenter spent five weeks in a coma and two years in the hospital undergoing surgery and rehabilitation.

Carpenter had brain surgery to remove shrapnel, nearly 40 operations to repair a collapsed lung, fractured fingers, a shattered right arm broken in more than 30 places, and multiple skin grafts. He has a prosthetic eye, a rebuilt jaw and new teeth.

Carpenter credits doctors at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Bethesda, Md., for putting him “back together well.” Perhaps they deserve his gratitude, but he is due equal credit not only for the initial courage he showed in battle but also for the courage to face his grueling recovery and seek to lead a normal life.

To that end, he skies, snowboards, parachutes and completed the Marine Corps Marathon.

He is attending USC, where, the president noted, he is getting “stellar grades.” He is thinking of majoring in psychology with the goal of helping others, including his fellow wounded warriors.

At the June 19 White House ceremony, Carpenter also demonstrated that he is an extremely poised and well spoken young man. South Carolina, don’t let him go!

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