William Kyle Carpenter is a true America hero. He received the nation’s highest award for valor—the Medal of Honor from the president.
President Obama said, "Kyle is a shining example of what our nation needs to encourage. You will notice that Kyle does not hide his scars. He is proud of them and the service they represent."
Since the 8th grade, Corporal Carpenter said he wanted to be a Marine. At 19, he enlisted.
He told INSIDE EDITION, “I remember that like it was yesterday.”
Watch Carpenter Recall His Close Call With Death
In November 2010, five months into his deployment in Afghanistan, he found himself in a terrible firefight with the Taliban. Out of nowhere, a grenade landed at his feet. The 19-year-old from South Carolina leaped on the grenade, saving his fellow Marine's life, but the blast tore his body apart.
Kyle said, “My whole body was numb, but at the same time my next feeling was I felt like warm water being poured over me from the blood coming out and the blood loss. One of the few things I remember was telling the Marines that were treating me, ‘I’m going to die. I’m going to die.’ I couldn't see or hear them. I just remember saying, 'I am going to die. I am going to die.' ”
Sgt. Jared Lilly was the first on the scene. He said, “It thought he was dead or would be soon.”
Flown to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, he found himself surrounded by his family.
His father, Jim, told INSIDE EDITION, "I never expected the damage to be that severe.”
Kyle lost his right eye, his right arm was nearly amputated, his jaw blown off. Shrapnel had riddled his body including his brain.
His mother, Robin, tearfully said, “I just remember telling him he's going to be okay.”
Kyle had to undergo 30 operations. He had an image of his Purple Heart embedded into his glass eye. Recovery is a daily ordeal. He pushes his body to the limit, even doing pull-ups, despite a mangled right arm.
He said, “I’m really enjoying life and taking advantage of everything I can. Just to get out there and experience the second chance I’ve been given.”
Now, with the nation looking on, Corporal William Kyle Carpenter, stood at attention as a grateful nation awards him its highest military honor.
Corporal William Kyle Carpenter was medically discharged from the Marines last summer. He's now working on his undergraduate degree from the University of South Carolina.