By Tim Pulliam - email COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolina legislators have honored a Marine who fell on a grenade to protect a buddy in Afghanistan. Lance Cpl. Kyle Carpenter of Gilbert survived the blastMore >>
South Carolina legislators have honored a Marine who fell on a grenade to protect a buddy in Afghanistan.More >>
By Tim Pulliam COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - One of South Carolina's bravest is back home. A group of motorcycles ushered Lance Corporal Kyle Carpenter back to his neighborhood Tuesday night. It was a special momentMore >>
One of South Carolina's bravest is back home. A group of motorcycles ushered Lance Corporal Kyle Carpenter back to his neighborhood Tuesday night.More >>
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -
23-year-old Kyle Carpenter lives like he's dying. Because he almost did. Two and a half years ago in Afghanistan.
"Me and my best friend were on a roof," he said. "A grenade was thrown by enemy forces. And I started to wake up a month later."
The grenade shredded him and nearly blew off his lower jaw.
The rifle he was holding was in pieces. So was his right arm; 30 fractures now held together by dozens of pins.
"40 surgeries," said Carpenter. "Too much to say in this short interview!"
Since the accident Carpenter has become something of an ambassador for the Marine Corps and the state. A new-found role he takes seriously.
"I think that carries a huge responsibility and puts a lot of weight on my shoulders to be a positive figure for South Carolina," he said.
But in his down time, if you could call it that, Carpenter has been active. From ropes courses to snowboarding. Even skydiving.
And Saturday he'll tackle the grueling Marine Corps Mud Run.
He's wanted to do it ever since he watched his brothers run it in his honor shortly after he got out of the hospital.
"Why not do it?" he asked. "Why not do it?"
Why not? His mother says is his surgically repaired right arm. He says if he breaks it, there's a 50/50 chance it would be amputated.
But after that day on the roof in Afghanistan there's little Carpenter won't do.
"I've been given a second chance and I'm going to take full advantage of that," he said. "Just because something could happen, or might happen -- those unknown factors will not be something that stops me from doing something that will really make me experience and enjoy life. Really make me feel like I'm taking full advantage of that second chance I've been given."
Carpenter is brave, but not stupid. He works out every day and said he will be extra careful navigating the obstacles Saturday. He does not plan on skipping any.