UPDATE: An updated version of this story has now been posted online here.
You may recognize this face. That’s Lance Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, who was severely wounded in Afghanistan in 2010 when insurgents chucked a hand grenade onto the roof where he and another Marine, Lance Cpl. Nick Eufrazio, were posting security.
In the months since the attack, as Carpenter has undergone numerous surgeries to address his injuries, he has become an ambassador, of sorts, for the Marine Corps and its wounded warriors, inspiring family, friends and fellow Marines with his undying optimism in the face of a difficult recovery. He has dined with Vice President Joe Biden, attended events hosted by the commandant — and even mugged for photos alongside college cheerleaders and UFC star Brian Stann.
Eufrazio, by contrast, weighs 100 pounds and is unable to speak. He resides in a Florida veterans hospital that specializes in caring for patients who’ve sustained traumatic brain injuries. These men’s stories, writes Marine Corps Times senior writer Dan Lamothe, is “a classic example of the cruelty of war.”
Carpenter came to our attention last year, when we received word that the state legislature in his native South Carolina honored him with a resolution claiming he “took the full blast from an enemy hand grenade in seeking to save a fellow Marine.” He and Eufrazio are the only two eyewitnesses to what happened that day on the outskirts of Marjah. Carpenter says he can’t remember what happened in the moments right before the attack. Eufrazio can’t communicate. The Corps continues to investigate the incident, officials say, and it’s unclear whether all of their questions ever will be answered.
But if Carpenter did try to protect his buddy from the blast …
… that would put him in some exclusive company.
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