5 years ago, he threw his body onto a live enemy grenade. He flat-lined. Now, he lives to tell the story…

William Kyle Carpenter was just 19 years old when he enlisted in the Marine Corps, and at the age of 21 he was deployed to Afghanistan bearing the rank of Lance Corporal.


Little did Carpenter know, 4 months later, he would literally dance on the edge of death—and live to tell the story.


On November 21st, 2010, he threw his body onto a live enemy grenade in order to save the life of his comrade Lance Corporal Nick Eufrazio.


Eufrazio incurred severe brain damage and had to have his skull rebuilt. The doctors said he’d never speak again, but two years after the tragic accident, he spoke his first words.

… An even more astounding miracle is what happened to Carpenter:

“My body was torn apart by an enemy hand grenade…upon arriving at Camp Bastion, I was labeled P.E.A. — patient expired on arrival,” he said. “I flat-lined at Walter Reed. The enemy killed me. I came back.”

The violent explosion ravaged Carpenter’s body.

It took his right eye, broke countless bones in his face, severely damaged his right arm, collapsed his right lung, and took a third of his lower jaw. And that’s just the beginning.

It took 40 surgeries and nearly 3 years in the hospital for Carpenter to finally get on the road to recovery.

He received a much deserved Purple Heart Medal, and in June of 2014, President Obama also awarded Carpenter with the prestigious Medal of Honor for his act of insane courage in the face of unthinkable danger.

On June 19th, 2014, Carpenter became the eighth living recipient of the Medal of Honor presented to him at the White House by President Obama. This is awarded to those who showed personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty.

Carpenter is 1 of only 8 people alive who have received this coveted honor.

It’s now been 5 years since the moment that changed his life forever, but he says he’s just now getting started on his recovery journey—and let me tell you, he is NOT holding back.

Living life on the edge, Carpenter has already run marathons to honor other veterans and even went skydiving!


He’s also become an advocate for wounded serviceman and a motivational speaker, all while going to school at the University of South Carolina for International Studies.


Carpenter says he soaks up as much time with friends and family as possible. He knows he got a second chance at life, and he wants to make sure he lives every second of it to its fullest potential.

“I’m still here and kicking and, you know, I have all my limbs so you’ll never hear me complain,” he says.

He miraculously overcame death, so you better believe he’s on a mission to truly live.

What a marvelous, courageous young man. It sounds like we can all take a little lesson from Carpenter into the new year on how to live like we were dying.

He has certainly done it well.

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About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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