Occupation:Retired United States Marine Corporal
Superman Hall of Heroes inductee Kyle Carpenter is a true American hero. He is the second living Marine since the Vietnam War, and the youngest Marine to be decorated with the Medal of Honor. His story of bravery, both in combat and in recovery from life-threatening injury, is inspiring to all.
Lance Corporal William Kyle Carpenter was born in Jackson, MS, on October 17, 1989, and raised by his parents Jim and Robin Carpenter. He attended high school at W. Wyman King Academy in South Carolina, where he excelled as a running back for the football team. Carpenter graduated in 2008, and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2009.
While stationed in Afghanistan as a squad automatic rifleman with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, on the morning of November 20th, 2010, Lance Corporal Carpenter’s squad was attacked by small arms fire, sniper fire, grenades and rockets while providing perimeter security to fortify their position at Patrol Base Dakota. During the attack, three grenades were thrown over the east compound wall. One of the three grenades landed between Lance Corporal Carpenter and a fellow Marine. Realizing the danger, Lance Corporal Carpenter positioned himself between the grenade and his fellow Marine.
Lance Corporal Carpenter was subsequently severely injured and spent two and a half years recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Over the course of nearly 40 surgeries, much of Corporal Carpenter’s face was reconstructed during his recovery at the hospital. He lost his right eye. Doctors removed shrapnel from his head and repaired his shattered right arm, which was broken in more than 30 places.
While lying in his hospital bed, Carpenter set a personal goal to one day run a marathon. It was a tough start, because at the time, he was not even able to walk around the nurse’s station just outside his hospital room. He never gave up.
At the age of 24, Corporal Carpenter was released from the hospital in July 2013 and he medically retired from the Marines. Three weeks later, he attended his first class at the University of South Carolina, where he is a full-time student. He also completed in his first marathon that year, the Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington, VA.
In 2014, Corporal Carpenter returned to compete in his second Marine Corps Marathon, this time skydiving into the race with a team of military veterans, carrying a 7,800-square-foot American flag. He went on to run the marathon in 5 hours and 12 minutes.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, Corporal Carpenter’s personal awards include a Purple Heart Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and Combat Action Ribbon. His other awards and decorations include the Navy Unit Commendation, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one bronze campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with one bronze star, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal ISAF for Afghanistan, and Rifle Sharpshooter Badge.