Medal of Honor recipient William Kyle Carpenter has made one of the most remarkable recoveries in modern medical history. Carpenter lost one of his eyes, most of his teeth and suffered numerous lacerations after using his own body to shield his fellow Marines from a grenade.
Carpenter talks about his injuries and recovery in the above interview with David Letterman.
Carpenter has also documented his recover and subsequent life on his appropriately named Instagram account, chicksdigscars.
Here is Carpenter’s Medal of Honor commendation:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an Automatic Rifleman with Company F, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on 21 November 2010. Lance Corporal Carpenter was a member of a platoon-sized coalition force, comprised of two reinforced Marine rifle squads partnered with an Afghan National Army squad.
The platoon had established Patrol Base Dakota two days earlier in a small village in the Marjah District in order to disrupt enemy activity and provide security for the local Afghan population. Lance Corporal Carpenter and a fellow Marine were manning a rooftop security position on the perimeter of Patrol Base Dakota when the enemy initiated a daylight attack with hand grenades, one of which landed inside their sandbagged position. Without hesitation and with complete disregard for his own safety, Lance Corporal Carpenter moved toward the grenade in an attempt to shield his fellow Marine from the deadly blast. When the grenade detonated, his body absorbed the brunt of the blast, severely wounding him, but saving the life of his fellow Marine.
By his undaunted courage, bold fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of almost certain death, Lance Corporal Carpenter reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.