SC legislators honor Marine who fell on grenade

By Tim Pulliam - email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolina legislators have honored a Marine who fell on a grenade to protect a buddy in Afghanistan.

Lance Cpl. Kyle Carpenter of Gilbert survived the blast with severe injuries. He stood confident and proud in the Senate chamber Wednesday as senators honored him with a resolution, telling Carpenter him he is the epitome of an American hero. "For a split second I was listening to everything and standing there, it was like I was listening at that stuff for someone else," said Carpenter.

'Humble' is one way to describe Carpenter, and you could add 'brave,' too. The Marine injured himself after saving his best friend from an attack in Afghanistan by jumping onto a live grenade that exploded.
His friend survived, but Kyle lost sight in his right eye and some feeling in his arm. "Every time I go to the bathroom, I stand there and I am beyond thankful that I can stand up," said Carpenter. "I have a lot of nerve damage with my hands and arms, but I have two fingers that work."

State Sen. Jake Knotts of Lexington presented the resolution, and said Carpenter plans to go to college to become a teacher and coach.

Carpenter has also been honored with a Purple Heart. He's also grateful for the support he's received since his return home to Gilbert. "People cook us food, bring us meals and that means the world to us," he said. "It helps mom. It means a lot that people are thinking about me."

Kyle wants the recognition focused back on those still fighting the war. "My best friends have been killed instantly and died slowly," he said. "We have guys dying every day over there."

"I'm proud of what I did and what my guys did and what they're still doing over there," Carpenter added.

A service and sacrifice Kyle says he would do again.

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Copyright 2011 WIS. All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.