MCRD San Diego Receives Words of Wisdom from American Hero Kyle Carpenter

MCRD San Diego Receives Words of Wisdom from American Hero Kyle Carpenter

Cpl Daniel Mata, automotive organizational mechanic/technician, Motor Transportation Company, Combat Logistics Battalion-453, Combat Logistics Regiment-4, Abilene, Texas, demonstrates the correct use of a compass during land navigation training. Photo by Nathan L. Hanks Jr.

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO (June 26, 2014) - The Medal of Honor is the nation's highest military honor awarded for personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty. On June 19, 2014, President Obama presented the award to the eighth living recipient.

Cpl William K. Carpenter (retired) is the newest recipient of the Medal of Honor for his selfless acts during Operation Enduring Freedom in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in 2010. According to his citation, "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."

Carpenter suffered severe head injuries, a collapsed right lung, multiple facial fractures, the loss of a third of his lower jaw and fragment injuries to his arms and legs.

Just days after he was awarded the Medal of Honor, Carpenter flew to southern California and attended events and got the chance to speak with Marines at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. After his visit was complete, he traveled to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego to eat lunch at Duncan Hall and speak with Marines aboard depot.

The young corporal had some words of wisdom to pass on to present and future Marines.

"Appreciate what you have because you are a part of the best military in the world," said Carpenter. "Whenever you are going through a tough time just know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and take advantage of that and do the best you can."

Carpenter explained to his audience that he loved being a Marine and being around them.

"I wear this medal for all of you, not for my benefit," said Carpenter. "Everything I do I want to make past generations and all of you proud."

While aboard the depot, Carpenter also visited the base barbershop to freshen up his look and took a tour of the Command Museum, which is where a copy of his citation will be placed. Behind the scenes, he is just a typical 24-year-old guy who enjoys staying active and enjoying the small things in life.

"I like to do anything that comes my way," said Carpenter, a native of Jackson, Miss.

He explained that he loves to take part in activities such as skydiving, that deliver a thrill or adrenaline rush.

Carpenter is a full-time student at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and is looking forward to starting his sophomore year in the fall.

"I love school," said Carpenter. "It is excellent and everybody is really respectful and treats me well."

Carpenter has plans to travel the world, which was inspired by his favorite author, Dan Brown.

"Traveling is on the top of my priority list,"said Carpenter. "My number one place I want to go is Italy."

Carpenter explained that he had read about Italy's history and it is a place he has always wanted to go.

As far as other travel, he notes he also wants to visit historical World War II battle sites and see where many men had fought to give Americans the freedoms they have today.

One thing that Carpenter stressed is that he wants to help people. He is a motivational speaker and hopes to help individuals by spreading awareness about the Marine Corps and how professional and excellent they are, he explained.

Carpenter is scheduled to spend his summer traveling the United States speaking on television shows and at different events spreading his message throughout the country.

"It took me getting blown up to realize how incredible this life is that we have," said Carpenter. "Go out there and experience everything you can, while you can."

Marines.mil is the official website of the United States Marine Corps and is maintained by the Marine Corps' Division of Public Affairs.