Profile in Courage: The Marine

Lance Cpl. Kyle Carpenter almost lost his life in an attempt to protect a fellow Marine from a grenade.

By Daryl Chen
Also in Reader's Digest Magazine January 2014

Kyle CarpenterMike McGregor
On November 21, 2010, Lance Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, 24, and Lance Cpl. Nick Eufrazio were in Afghanistan when insurgents lobbed a grenade at them. Judging from his injuries, Carpenter threw himself on the device to protect his comrade. (Neither man remembers the blast.) His jaw was blown away, his right eye was destroyed, and his right arm was fractured in 30 places. Eufrazio suffered a severe brain injury from a piece of shrapnel. In 2011, the South Carolina Senate honored Carpenter. “I’m hoping what happened to me will help remind people that brave acts like this happen every day [on the battlefield],” he said at the press conference. His recovery reminds us of the costs of bravery, but after more than 30 surgeries, Carpenter (who retired from the Marines in July) declares, “I’m at my new 100 percent.” Before joining the Marines, “I wasn’t that brave,” he admits. “But the [USMC’s] history makes us want to be brave.”

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