Summary of Action
Lance Corporal William Kyle Carpenter is enthusiastically recommended for the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his life while serving as a squad automatic rifleman, Company F, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) for actions against enemy forces on 21 November 2010 in Marjah District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Lance Corporal Carpenter’s squad was tasked with establishing Patrol Base Dakota in a small village in the Karez-e Saydi area of Marjah on 19 November 2010. Traveling by foot, Lance Corporal Carpenter’s squad was accompanied by a team of engineers, an interpreter, and Afghan National Army personnel when they set out to establish Patrol Base Dakota.
On the morning of 20 November 2010, the squad was attacked by small arms fire, sniper fire, grenades, and rockets while providing perimeter security and filling sandbags to fortify their positions at Patrol Base Dakota. During this time, Lance Corporal Carpenter was occupying Post 2 which was located on the top of an Afghan storage shed made of mud, straw and small timbers in the southwest corner of the compound when it was struck by recoilless rifle fire. Lance Corporal Carpenter received no injuries during this incident, but two of his fellow Marines were evacuated from wounds received during the attack. Due to the damages sustained to the roof of Post 2, Lance Corporal Carpenter moved within the storage shed located below Post 2 requiring him to utilize an opening in the southeast corner of the wall for observation. The use of the opening had severely reduced the squad’s capability to observe the enemy forces’ movement outside of the patrol base to the south due to its close proximity to the ground.
On the morning of 21 November 2010, Lance Corporal Carpenter and Lance Corporal Nicholas Eufrazio were tasked with providing security for Patrol Base Dakota from an observation post identified as Post 1. Post 1 was located in the northeastern corner of the patrol base on the roof of the patrol’s Command Operations Center. It had limited cover and concealment and was built up with the use of sandbags three to four high in a circular design. While on post, Lance Corporal Carpenter was manning a M240B and, together with Lance Corporal Eufrazio, was assigned to observe the north, northwest, and northeast sectors of Patrol Base Dakota.
At approximately 0900, Lance Corporal Eufrazio and Lance Corporal Carpenter received sporadic small arms fire on their position causing them to lower their profile by lying on their backs in order to gain concealment while trying to obtain the locations of enemy positions. Unable to obtain the position of the enemy due to the thick vegetation and structures that surrounded them, Lance Corporal Carpenter’s squad leader loaned him his M4 service rifle in order to maintain a lower profile while scanning for enemy forces.
At approximately 1000, Patrol Base Dakota was attacked again by enemy forces through the use of sporadic small arms fire. While attempting to locate their positions, enemy forces had maneuvered in close through the use of the walls of the compound across the street to the east. Once in position, three grenades were thrown over the east compound wall in consecutive order. The first grenade landed in the center of the compound and rolled toward the west entry point of the Patrol Base prior to detonation injuring one Afghan National Army soldier. The second grenade landed near Post 2 where Lance Corporal Carpenter was positioned the day prior without detonation. The final grenade landed in close proximity to him and Lance Corporal Eufrazio on the rooftop observation post.
Realizing the danger that he and Lance Corporal Eufrazio were in, Lance Corporal Carpenter positioned himself between the grenade and his fellow Marine in an attempt to shield Lance Corporal Eufrazio from its blast. Due to Lance Corporal Carpenter’s actions, the majority of the grenade blast was deflected down rather than up causing a cone shaped hole to be blown down through the ceiling of the command operations center. The blast sent debris directly onto the platoon’s corpsman that was lying directly below the observation post where Lance Corporal Eufrazio and Lance Corporal Carpenter were posted. Although Lance Corporal Eufrazio received a shrapnel injury to the head from the grenade, Lance Corporal Carpenter’s body absorbed a majority of the resulting explosion.
Lance Corporal Carpenter was severely wounded and immediately evacuated due to a depressed skull fracture requiring brain surgery, multiple facial fractures, a third of his lower jaw missing, a collapsed right lung, and multiple fragment injuries to both of his upper and lower extremities.
Lance Corporal Carpenter’s extraordinary demonstration of bravery, decisiveness, and loyalty to his fellow Marine embody the Marine Corps’ values of honor, courage and commitment. His total disregard for his own personal safety distinguishes his conduct above and beyond the call of duty in the face of certain death. Due to Lance Corporal Carpenter’s fearless devotion to duty and heroic actions, he is strongly recommended for the Medal of Honor.