While President Barack Obama fends off Republican calls to put more military service people into dangerous and often fatal situations like retired U.S Marine Corps Cpl. William "Kyle" Carpenter found himself in, the new Medal of Honor recipient will be at Camp Pendleton this morning.
The 24-year-old is scheduled to visit with Marines at Wounded Warrior Battalion West and then speak with others in the base training center (auditorium) at 9:30 a.m. Carpenter will later leave Camp Pendleton for meet-and-greets at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
While serving as a Marine rifleman in Marjah in Afghanistan's Helmand Province in November 2010, the Jackson, Miss., native and another Marine were staffing a rooftop security position when they were attacked by Taliban fighters. When a grenade landed nearby, Carpenter threw himself on top of it to shield his partner from the blast. He suffered severe injuries to his right arm and face and lost an eye.
For that, Carpenter on Thursday became the eighth living recipient of the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military honor. In awarding the medal during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, President Barack Obama said Carpenter has made no attempt to remove the scars on his face out of pride.
Carpenter has also received a Purple Heart, a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, a Combat Action Ribbon, a Navy Unit Commendation and a Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with one bronze star for his actions in Iraq or Afghanistan, according to military officials.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.