As Mississippians take time around memorial day to remember solders who died in war, a ississippi native is talking about Medal of Honor he will be awarded for covering a grenade with his own body to protect a fellow soldier in Afghanistan. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports Kyle Carpenter miraculously survived and the push to have him awarded the medal became a rallying cry among his fellow marines.
While on patrol in Afghanistan in 20-10, someone threw a grenade at Marine Corporal Kyle Carpenter and his fellow solider.
"It was first combat deployment. And my first deployment to Afghanistan," Carpenter said.
Carpenter, who was born in Jackson, covered the grenade with his own body, likely saving the life of the solider who was on patrol with him.
"I don't really remember anything from that whole day before, especially the moments leading up to it. All I remember is how I felt physically after the grenade went off," Carpenter said.
Carpenter survived the explosion but his injuries were severe, including losing an eye, much of his hearing and other extensive physical damage.
His story of self sacrifice spread throughout the marines who called for him to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
However, the standards for the award are high and because he does not remember the moments before the explosion it was not clear if it could be given to him.
Marines who responded to the blast say they found the explosion under his body, which proved key to the decision to give him the medal.
Carpenter says it is a large, but heavy honor especially around memorial day since many of his friends did not survive the war.
"It is a very hard time. Especially over there when it happens. And you have to put guys on medivacs and know that you will never see them again," Carpenter said.
Since his recovery Carpenter has achieved numerous other personal goals including running a marathon and sky diving.
President Barack Obama will officially present the award on June 19th.