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Interview with William Kyle Carpenter [7/13/2015]

William Kyle Carpenter:

I have one, but...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

My name is Karl Carpenter. I am a retired United States Marine Corporal and I started out in 2nd Battalion Night Marines on my deployment and I finished my career in the Marine Corps at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as a patient.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Well, I was born in....

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

I was born in Jackson, Mississippi. I have two younger brothers. They are twins and their names are Bryce and Payton. They just finished their freshman year in college and my parents, Jim and Robin - my family is amazing. They have been there since the moment I woke up and they will be with me every single second. They are very supportive and I am very fortunate to have just an amazing family and an amazing support system.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Yeah.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Well, I was born in Jackson, Mississippi. I spent most of my young childhood there and then we moved to outside of Atlanta, Georgia to a place called Gainesville and spent 7 years there and after Gainesville, we moved to Tennessee where I spent 3 years and then after Tennessee is when we moved to South Carolina and we have been here for almost 9 years now and I was born in Mississippi, but we definitely call it South Carolina home.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Anything that made my mother nervous. Hahaha. Not much has changed - ramping bikes, rollerblading, any.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

What I was really into as a kid, anything that drove my mother crazy or made her nervous and not much has changed. I went from... I mean, I have always been a ____, but as a kid, just a normal kid, like to be outside, play sports, be active, and that transitioned into joining the Marine Corps and now I love to still skydive and ride bikes and be in the water, be outside and just like to stay active and enjoy this second chance that I have been blessed with.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Not in the headphones. Headphones sound great. Yeah.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Yes.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Do one small thing...to just uh bring this down, but really it sounds really nice.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

No, that is okay.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Hmmm.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Well, I played football all growing up as a kid and other sports, but football is definitely my favorite and I really worked hard in the weight room and stay in condition and that transitioned into middle school and then eventually high school football and I worked really hard and I guess my standout year was my senior year at King Academy in Batesburg, South Carolina where I did really well, but I worked hard to get there, but I really just enjoyed football and just a good thing to keep me in shape, keep me healthy and really keep my focus all through school while I was going through that.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Well, I would not say I am the first, but I am the only living military member in my family. My mother’s dad, my grandfather, was in the navy. He died when I was very young so I would not say it was a lifelong goal to join the military, but when I was on a trip in middle school, I remember buying a shirt that said ____ on it and I just thought it was the coolest shirt in the whole world and you know, that shirt disappeared pretty quickly. I do not know if mother had a hand in that or not, but uh... You know, I loved that shirt and then you know, as I started going through high school, I had encountered and come across a few marines as I grew up and just the way they carried themselves and how firm and professional, but at the same time fair they were, and just, I guess, the all encompassing aspect of - I just was really drawn to them and really looked up to them and I guess that is maybe where it started and later on in high school, I decided that I wanted to join the military, I wanted to serve, but did not know exactly what job, what branch, but I knew I wanted to do that and I wanted to do it after high school and I joined the military and I joined the Marine Corps line because, you know what they say, it is the hardest branch, but other than that, the real reason I joined is to serve a purpose bigger than myself and to devote myself to something bigger than me, any one individual effort, and I did not want to wake up one day and regret not serving when I had the opportunity.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

It was very difficult for my parents when I officially told them that I was going to join and that is what I wanted to do and you know the first few months were hard and I did not want to just go and join and ship off without getting their blessing. I was 18 at that time so I could have, but not that they did not support me, but I really wanted it to just be a family effort and really for them to be on board so talking for about 2 months and really just trying to get them to understand where I was coming from. We are still at a time of two wars at that point back in 2009. We are in Iraq and Afghanistan, and so they knew that if I joined there was a good chance that I will be put in harm’s way and unfortunately there was a chance that I might be killed and not come home; so not that they did not support me, but it was very difficult and I understood that, so that was why I worked through them and really talked to them and one day I just told them that “Mom and dad, this is what I want to do. This is my passion. This is what I am driven to do. This is what I feel like my purpose is” and I told them that I was going to do it, that was going to be a part of my life. When they heard that and when they heard that it was truly what I wanted to do and what I wanted for my life, you know, they instantly were 100% behind me and they have been ever since.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

911, honestly, I will not say, unfortunately, because I was young and I did not understand. 911 did not really impact me, but I remember sitting in my 6th grade math class. I remember the teachers just being in a panic and turning on our TVs and I remember the impact in the look of just disbelief and sadness and shock that was on my teacher’s face. So watching it, I cannot say it had an impact or effect emotionally because I could not grasp what was going on, but just from the adults that were in the school and the teacher that was in my classroom, I knew that it was a historically changing moment.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Yes sir. I was aware in 2009 when I joined of what is at stake, but at the same time, going in and being scared or concerned or maybe not wanting to fully join because of that, I think if that was any part of the case, then you should not join. Above the risk and above what I was getting into, I could not really comprehend. You know, I might get hurt, I might get killed one day, really I just wanted to serve and I wanted to become a marine and earn that title, and I wanted to do that with my life and I could have fully grasped or understand or comprehend the risk, but I knew it is much more dangerous of a job than if I have just gone to college or got a job at a high school, so I did now we are at a time of two wars, but my mindset was there was absolutely nothing that is going to stop me from becoming a marine and serving my country and because of that is how I felt, even though we are in a time of two wars, two conflicts. Above all else, I just wanted to serve.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

I knew Afghanistan, especially the area of operation that we are going into. The Marine Corps, military does a great job. We started our workup, and we had a 7-month workup as a unit. I was a second battalion night marines out of Camp ____ in North Carolina and we started our workup 7 months before we were deployed and we worked very, very hard and we got not only physically ready, but mentally ready and we did everything we could to best prepare ourselves to go into this combat area and we knew it was going to be a rough deployment. We did not know how rough or how bad or how many casualties are killed in action we are going to have, but we knew it was not going to be an easy deployment, so we worked very hard in those 7 months to get ready to deploy and we deployed late July 2010 to Marjeh, Afghanistan and Helmand Province.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

It was a reality check for some of the northern boys in our unit, but you know being from South Carolina and being from the South ____, Hawaii, I cannot say it was unbearably hot, but when it gets into the 105 degrees, 110 degrees, sometimes 115 degrees, it is hot for anybody and it was not only very hot, but very rugged, tough terrain to not only navigate, but to operate in, flooded farm lands, flooded fields, waiting through sewage canals to avoid IEDs or road side bombs, land mines, fighting day in and day out, sun up to sun down, fighting through tree lines, agricultural fields, people’s backyards - just a very rural, hot, tough, area to work in, climate to work in. It was a beautiful, but hard place all at the same time.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Yes sir. Well, the unit that we are seated... I am sorry. It was a very tough combat deployment. The unit that we relieved, third battalion six marines out of Camp ____ also, they had a very rough deployment and while we were still back in the stateside, they are deployed 7 months before we did and as they went through their deployment and as we went to our workup, we saw marines from 36 coming back injured in back braces, canes, crutches, and gunshot wounds. So, not that we could really comprehend what we are getting into, but seeing them come back injured was definitely a reality check. You know, it was good for us. It really made us realize that we are going into a dangerous area and that we had to have our heads all straight and we had to be as sharp and ready as we could be. So, seeing all of them come back and then deploying there 7 months later, it was a very rough area and a lot of combat. Every single day, we are in engagements with the enemy. Unfortunately, in my unit, we have many killed and many more casualties, but the amazing thing about our military is every single one of those casualties, every single one of those marines that were killed in action, everybody of their fighting were volunteers and that is what I tried to stress to people when I write or talk about Afghanistan in this new generation. To me, every generation is the greatest generation. I mean, I say that about World War II. They saved the world, they got us to where we are as a country, they are just an amazing generation that books will fairly be written about and people always read about, but at the same time, all the marines that I was there with, getting shied out every single day with were volunteers. They raise their right hand when nobody else would and all on their own with nobody making them join the Marine Corps went on that combat deployment and sacrificed day in and day out for freedom, for our country, for people back here and for our way of life and above all of that really help another human being to help those villages and those people that are oppressed by the enemy and those people that have no idea what education or clean water or freedom or tennis shoes feel like. So, we are over there fighting for their way of life also, but it was a difficult deployment. There was a lot of fighting, every single day, sun up to sun down.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

My first firefight, you know, it was almost one of those things that you prepare for and you think about day in and day out, and you get ready and you get ready, and then it happens and it just, you are not surprised, but it is just very surreal that we have been working for so long, growing up, you know, seeing movies about past conflicts and wars and read books and all of these things and then it actually happens. You know, you can only help but to sit there and think, wow, you know, I am in my first firefight, I am going to help Afghanistan and I got a fight right now, and I have got to look out for my buddies to my right and my left because this has become real and this is life now and here we are and halfway around the world in Southern Afghanistan getting shot at and fighting for our lives and you know, once that happened, we all reacted perfectly textbook and we all made it out of that first firefight and, you know, we just immediately started learning from those and everyone was different, but everyone had similar aspects and it was a reality check, but it was what we are there for, and we knew that and we realize that and we fought for. Really when you get over to these combat zones and these places around the world in that first initial burst of AK47, that first IED goes off, you know from that moment on, you are fighting for each other first and foremost and the mission, and the people and everything else you are trying to help comes in second because when you are there and you are in that moment getting shot, each other is really all you have and each other is what you truly look out for.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Yeah, for the moment it looks...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Yes sir. Well we have marines killed and injured out of our small patrol base that we operated out of. We have roughly 15 marines or so, it was a platoon size element with some Afghan National Army Forces added onto this in that patrol base. But, to see a fellow marine get killed or injured cannot be put into words, but, you know, to go back into and to relate into, they were volunteers and that is why their service and their legacy and their lives and their bit of history that they have added to our great nation is that much more amazing because nobody made them go over there. Nobody made them serve, but they did and whether we ended up injured or they ended up killed unfortunately, you know, like the great General Patton said it is foolish to mourn those that have died. We should rather thank God that such men lived and that is very true and that is what I always try to remember. Not to be sad, but one, try to live my life to the best of my ability and more to honor and to live life for them. Uhm, but, you know, as volunteers they served and some made the ultimate sacrifice and we all sacrificed and so it is just, it is amazing. We have just an amazing military and an amazing mindset and just a great country and that is why we are who we are today, and that is why we have such an amazing country because of men like that.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Uhuh.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

So, I was injured on November 21, 2010 and just a dayandahalf roughly before I was injured, my squad got tasked with the mission. My platoon got tasked with the mission. My squad carried it out, and we were tasked with pushing roughly click-and-a-half south of our position and the patrol base and the village that we had operated out of for the 4 months up until that point of our deployment, out of 7month deployment. We got tasked with pushing south into another village, and we needed to take over another compound so we could start the very beginning stages of setting up a new patrol base to operate out of, because the area that we were planning on setting this patrol base again was one of the last enemy strongholds of our area of operation. And, you know, the amount of effort and time it took, and the risk of safety to walk that far just to patrol that village everyday was not really realistic. So we needed a place to operate out of locally there, and I say locally because you know, a click to 2 clicks is not that far. But over there when you are walking, you have no vehicles and everything is done by foot, you are carrying all your gear and it is as hot it is and the fighting is constant. A click to 2 clicks might, as well be in a different state. So, we needed somewhere close, local in that village to operate out of to start centrally and start pushing that enemy out. And, so we pushed down and we took over the new patrol base and the new side of operation and very shortly after we have moved in, came the first grenade attack, and we had two marines and an Afghan national army member got injured in that. We have medically evacuated the two marines who are fine today and doing great, but, nonetheless, that was two marines down and even for our whole deployment fighting constantly, sun up to sun down. We had never seen grenades from close range especially enemy hand grenades that were thrown at us up until that point in our deployment. So initially there was confusion and a follow on realization and aspect of just a whole another reality check that, okay, it is not just bullets and IDs ____ now. It is in the hand grenades that are being thrown and that also opened up the door of thought to, okay to throw in hand grenades they have to be extremely close so we really need to be extremely vigilant every single second we are down here. And not that we were not, but to be shot at, and to have hand grenades thrown at you is a whole different ball game. So it really open our eyes up and that following day, November 21st is when myself and my fellow marine that was on the roof with me were injured.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

A little less than a mile.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

November 21, 2010, the day that I was injured. Unfortunately, it used to frustrate me trying to think about it and think about the details that I just can’t remember, but the only thing I remember about that day is waking up to the sound of AK47 fires, small machine guns fired from the enemy attacking the small patrol base, the new mud hut compound where we were. And then, the next thing I remember is being on the roof later that afternoon with my best friend, fellow marine and we were on post, which most people would know as a lookout position. We are on top of a roof, and I remember us going over the scenarios of if a grenade was thrown up there or if we started taking fire from this direction, how would we react. And really we were just going over hypothetical situations to, I guess better mentally prepare ourselves to react if something happened and what exactly we would do if “X” happened this way or “X” happened this way, so, we were really just brainstorming and the next thing I remember is after the grenade and the explosion had happened. And I remember trying to push myself up and I guess, shake it off and I could not feel either one of my arms, any part of my arm all the way up to my shoulder. The next thing I remember is, feeling of like warm water was being poured all over me from the blood that has started to come out of my wounds and the next thing I thought of was with my family. And all these was going through my head because the grenade had temporarily knocked out all of my vision and all I could see was if you are looking at a TV with no cable reception, and it was just white and gray fuzz, that is what looked like and my ears are ringing very loud that I could not hear anything except for that. And so, really my only thoughts except for feeling the blood coming out was all going to my head and so I thought about my family, and how devastated they were going to be that I was not going to survive and make it home from Afghanistan, because I had not realized with not being able to see or hear, and how hard the explosion that hit me, and that fact that I could not really feel any of my body and it was totally numb from the blast. I knew I was in, I knew I was in trouble, and how tired I was getting, and how quickly from the blood loss, and how much blood I could feel myself losing. I quickly came to realize and understand and had accepted in those few moments before going unconscious that I was not going to wake up or survive, and my last thought I said a quick prayer, and then I went unconscious, and I woke roughly 5 or 6 weeks later ,what was, but as the National Naval Medical Center. Now it is Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Eufrazio.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Yeah.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Okay. So, I do not know how it started.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Okay. The area that myself and my fellow marine, Nick Eufrazio, were in was very small, and was not very protective because the day before, we had had our only other post, and when we had hiked down, myself and my fellow squad to our new position in that new patrol base, all we have is what we could carry in our packs. So we had the essentials, water, food, a blanket for sleeping, ammunition, and empty sandbags. And we had those because when you get to an area you want to immediately start to fortify that area to protect yourself and those inside, and the day before we were injured was he had lost many of our sandbags that we had filled and used as another post. So we had two roofs in this compound. Myself and Nick, we are the only ones that was left intact because the day before we had lost our other post position and all the sandbags that were there because of a direct hit from Iraq, during a rocket attack. So we are very limited on the sandbags and supply, so on top of this roof, myself and my fellow marine, Nick, we were on our backs to have the most minimal presence or part of our bodies exposed as possible. So we are lying on our backs with our heads resting on sandbags, and we are looking out over the direct threat area and the immediate front of the village that we were in, and we are in a very small circle of sandbags. Small enough that there was not really any much wiggle room and myself, he was pressed up against my left arm, which is his right arm, and we were right there, side-by-side, pressed up against each other in a small circle of sandbags and lying on top of this roof, and really just brainstorming and talking about possible threats and possible ways and directions of attack, and how to best respond to those.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Well, Nick Eufrazio is an amazing marine, and I credit him with just saving so many lives while we are over there. He was one of the youngest and going over there, one of the least experienced and himself, and the fellow new marines that he had come with and got attached to our unit had never been on a deployment before and especially combat deployment, and just inexperienced new guys. But they came in, and Nick is very sharp and he did an amazing job for the few short months that they were with us before deploy, and when we got over there even though he was one of the youngest and the least experienced every single patrol he won point man, and point man is what you would think. Point man, first man in front of all the other marines when he walked out of these friendly lines, and when we are walking through those dangerous fields, and those roads laced with IDs, ____ Nick was always the one up front, and he was very aware of our surroundings and he before walking up on things, and putting our fellow marines in danger, he would notice things, and just very aware, very vigilant, and just an amazing marine, a great head on his shoulder and really did. I cannot even put a word, just a phenomenal job as a marine, as a combat marine, as a point man, as a friend, and just a great guy, and every single night, we slept on the ground next to each other at first with really nothing. Just on dirt and then a few weeks into our deployment, we got little oneman single tents, and our tents are right beside each other, and we spent every second together, and I never went on a patrol without him and he never went on a patrol without me, and we were on the same fire team, and we worked very close together. And we just, you know, we are great team and he just did an amazing job while we were over there.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

No, I...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

No, I do not remember the grenade at all. I would say the only thing I very faintly remember is really no cognizant part of it, of when the grenade was thrown or the action that took place. I remember very faintly being on my knees and falling forward, but almost as if no thought process was behind it. It was just almost an empty body with no thoughts, falling forward, and then the blast going on, but as far as seeing the grenade or thinking, you know, I am going to try take this blast or roll over on top of it or jump on it, or the action that took place, I do not remember any of the thought process of it. And it used to frustrate me, but now I am just, I always have been, but I am very just thankful to be alive and now I look forward to the future and things ahead of me instead of back, and try not to let it frustrate me. But I do not remember anything besides being woken up by the machine gun fire, and then being on the roof briefly and speaking with Nick during our 4-hour post shift. The only think that I really remember vividly from the whole day are my thoughts, and how I felt after the grenade had gone off.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

He got injured. Uhuh.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Well, I would first say that everything through the very thorough investigation at the Marine Corps in the Department of ____ nothing was from my account because I did not remember anything. The entire investigation that was done, which took roughly 2 years was done from eyewitness account and they brought a post blast analysis team who specializes in blast and forces of blast and direction and anything that comes with explosion like that, and they brought them in immediately after the suspected action took place of me jumping on a grenade or covering the blast, and they analyzed the scene. They analyzed my gear, they came up with what they thought had happened as part of the investigation, and everything else is from eyewitness testimony. But to say why I would do that or why any marine would do that. Marines are a different breed. When we first get to Paris Island or if you go to a boot camp on the West Coast. The second we stand on those yellow footprints, it is ingrained and has drilled in us day in and day out for the entire 13 weeks of boot camp, that you know, your are not an individual anymore. You are a part of something bigger than yourself, you are part of a team, you are part of something that your country needs, a force that your country needs like the Marine Corp and that the marines and the men and women to your right and left wearing that sacred cloth of the nation that says US Marines on it, that they are just as important as you, and that is a team effort or no effort, and there is no individual effort and that has really, really drilled into us at all times. And so the bond that comes in combat, the love for each other that comes with just making it through a boot camp and having, you know, earning the right to wear that title and to have a fellow marine with an EGA on his uniform just like you. It is not surprising to me that I did I did and in no way patting myself on the back by saying that, but I know that if a hundred marines were put in that position, they would have done the same thing for me because it is who were are, it is what we are about it, it is part of our mission and our thought process and the war over there. Like I said, it is we are fighting for, the men and women to our right and left, and everything else comes second place and you know, to sacrifice for each other, we did that every single day and it is not that that I just did something truly amazing that no one else would ever do. There have been people who have done it. There have been marines that have done it. I got put in a unique situation and unique circumstance, but you know, I saw ____ sacrifice from my fellow marines every single day for 4 months up until that moment that the grenade went off, so it is just... It is a part of our culture and it is a part of what we are proud to do. We sacrifice for each other.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Just because I do not know exact details, and I would never want to say anything that is not exactly true or anything his family would have wanted me to say or come from them directly, could we just get to that.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

This is official?

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Yeah.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Okay. Yeah. Well, unofficially, and off the record, I would say that, unfortunately, we have not been in contact as much as I want and when this is over, I will definitely go to you and give you the background as to why, but, yeah, probably would not be the best for this unofficial interview.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Well, after the explosion of the grenade that injured me, my fellow marines and the navy corpsman were extremely fast in getting to me and myself. I am sorry. Let me start over. That is a longer step to...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Right... right.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Patient expired on arrival.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

So, after I was injured and the grenade went off, my fellow marines and my navy corpsman that was there with me did amazing job to get to me as quickly as they could on the roof and even under our base getting attacked, circumstances that they were in, and they fought very hard to keep me breathing, to keep me alive for that medical evacuation helicopter to arrive, and they did. They said that they did it. They were hopeful, but at the time, you would never let that show to anybody that you are trying to help or save their life. So, I remember faintly as I was going unconscious, I kept telling them, “I’m gonna die. I’m gonna die,” and they just kept getting on my nerves and ah, “coming back with you. You’re gonna make it. You’re gonna survive. You’re gonna... You’re gonna live,” and we kept going back and forth a few times and they just did such an amazing job to keep me alive that the medical evacuation helicopter got aired and they had to resuscitate me and keep me breathing on that flight to the first hospital. And for the next 7 days, the doctors fought to keep me alive and when I arrived at the first combat trauma row 3 hospital at Camp Bastion, I was labeled PEA, which is patient expired on arrival and doctors continue to help keep me alive and help keep me breathing and fighting and I just... I cannot even put in words what the military medicine and the doctors and nurses and base corpsmen and those medics that fought halfway around the world through little combat hospitals and hot dusty middle of nowhere Afghanistan to keep me alive with my injuries. So, that would have been extremely difficult to do here in a clean, nice, functioning hospital in the States. So they just did a phenomenal job to keep me alive and I went through another combat hospital at Bagram Airfield also in Afghanistan, where they continued efforts and surgeries to keep me alive and then, I was transported to ____ Germany where I spent a few days only because they detected a blood clot in my leg, which would have made it more dangerous and unsafe for me to make the long flight from Germany to Stateside Washington DC so total from battlefield to me arriving at Bethesda and now Walter Reed National Military Medical Center was total of 7 days and I arrive at Walter Reed on November 28. I arrived at Walter Reed on November 28, 2010 and I spent my next 2 years and roughly 10 months, almost 3 years there, recovering and going through surgeries and therapy and really taken that time to not only get better physically and emotionally and heal, but also to start brainstorming and thinking about my next steps with life and what I wanted to do after the military and if I wanted to get out after being injured or whether I wanted to stay or make it a career and I really thought about it and that is where I decided and had the time to plan and really set myself up for success as best as I could as a student, which I am now and just tackling the next steps of my life.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Correct. I was declared dead and you are right, I had to be resuscitated and brought back multiple times, and had to be on the rooftop and to feel yourself bleeding out and to have your last thought as a quick prayer because you know that you are not waking up and that it was a good 21 years on this earth, but it has come to an end and we got a quarter of my life to live, but I think that is what helps keeps things in perspective now, to look back and know that I was bleeding out on that roof and that I died and that I had to be resuscitated multiple times. It really put things in perspective that life is amazing and that I, you know, sounds cliché to say, but you know, people really do need to always keep in mind to live life to the fullest and I mean just imagine if you had 24 hours or tomorrow God forbid you got into that accident and you felt yourself bleeding out and you did not think you are going to survive. I mean, we are very blessed to have the chance and the opportunity of life that we have, and your right, to be dead and to be declared dead, to look back and see where I have come from is just, it is just to comprehend even for me. I went through it and it is a bittersweet moment in my life, but it is more that I am thankful for because it has really given me the drive of life and it has helped to give me perspective and bring me to who I am today.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

A lot better than it would have been.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

I do not remember any of it.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Well, as far as my injuries go from the grenade, I had injuries to both my eyes. I lost my right eye. Both of my eardrums were blown. I had penetrating shrapnel that had to be removed from my brain through brain surgery. The majority of my teeth were blown out from the blast, which really constituted most of my recovery time at Walter Reed having to wait for the bone to regrow, surgeries to help prepare the tissue for implants and just overall oral reconstructive and facial surgeries really took a good chunk of my recovery time in those 3 years at Walter Reed. I had penetrating and lacerations to three of the arteries in my neck, including my carotid artery on my right side and a collapsed right lung. I had 30 fractures in my right arm with most of my nerves being severed and a lot of tissue damage. It was a limb salvage, which they were going to amputate, but they thought that they might be able to save it with little use down the road, but at least I would have my limb, so they were able to save it and an amazing doctor, Dr. Noonan ____. He saved my arm and, you know, did a great job like all the doctors in Walter Reed. I had a few breaks, but mostly just tissue and nerve damage on my left arm and then some, just more tissue and shrapnel wounds to my legs, but really, I guess looking at it wholly, I was injured on every limb and pretty much every part of my body.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Uh-hmm.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Uh-hmm.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Well, after I arrived at Walter Reed and after my injury, it took me roughly 5 weeks to wake up and to start regaining consciousness. I only remember a few hours in between getting injured and really waking up and understanding, having a true reality of the place I was in because I woke up very briefly after surgery when I was in ICU and on top of the trauma and all the medications they give you, I had very, very bad hallucinations and to this day, I remember those just as vividly as anything else that really happened in my life and those hallucinations were more real than me and you sitting here right now, and so besides those few hours where I woke up and hallucinated, I truly woke up and kind of understand and was able to process thoughts and kind of where I was and after just 5 weeks and I started to wake up, the first thing that I really remember that was real was that my mom had decorated my room in the Christmas theme and the holiday spirit and remembered opening my eye and seeing a Christmas stocking that had every one of my family members’ names on them and they were all hung in a row and then aligned on my hospital room wall.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Okay.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Uh-hmm.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Yeah, my hallucinations in ICU were very bad. You know, the only part of my body that was not injured was my left ankle and my dad and my mom they would just take shifts and somebody is always in my room because those hallucinations were so bad and they terrified me so much and they would just keep a hand on my left ankle to let me know that they were there, but they ranged from anything, I mean I always thought that there was somebody standing behind my hospital room bed, my ICU bed, and I always thought someone was in my room with me and there was a girl that was, you know, a girl that was not living anymore. She was always hanging and one of the same corner of my ICU room, giant spiders attacked my ICU room and it was so real that I can feel them crawling and pulling on the bed sheets to get up to me. My ICU room got attacked and there was a grenade thrown through the ceiling and the fire hydrants or the fire ____ that in ceilings, the silver round I guess nozzles, those were bullet holes in the ceiling where the enemy was on the floor above us shooting down in my room and I remember very vividly they dropped a grenade down through one of those holes in the ceiling and the nurse yelled that I had been through enough already and she jumped on the grenade and it blew her all over my ICU room, so it was just a wide, weird range of variety of all different sorts of hallucinations that just came from the trauma and all the different medications, but after that rough point and those hallucinations in my time in ICU, you know, 5 weeks of that, starting to Afghanistan and making it through that time in ICU, 5 weeks later is when I woke up and I saw those Christmas stockings in my hospital room wall that my mom had hung.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

It was impossible.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Okay. Uhm. So, I tried first began to wake up in the hospital. It was impossible to move. Both my arms were tied up. I would get very, very sick anytime I try to do anything physically, even just sit up in the bed. So, it was a very slow process, but I was very motivated to get better and get up and get walking. I knew that the sooner I got out of the bed, the better I would be. But I think above all, I do not know if I ever would have thought about this without my parents saying it in hind side and now, but I really pushed myself and I stayed strong and I stayed positive. I tried to do really good, not for myself, but now realizing that I knew at the time that my parents were fed off with me and going back, it was very hard for them to accept and to realize that I was going into the Marine Corps when I joined and I could have gotten injured and here I am, injured, just really making it past the point of clinging on to life and here they are in my hospital room wall and they are really feeding off of me, my energy, my attitude, and I think if I would have handled it, it would have been very difficult for me or if I would have been down and out everyday, it would have been very hard on them. So, first and foremost, I tried to stay strong and happy and positive and motivated for my family to give them strength, but uhm, as far as myself goes, I just had little goals. I set little goals for myself. I first wanted to sit up in the bed for say 10 minutes and then 20 minutes and increase that to sitting up on my own without a back rest and then sitting on the edge of my bed and hanging my legs off the bed and after I got through that stage and you know, all through the while and all through these small steps. You know, it was hard to do this because I had to get a whole team of core men to help me. Anywhere from five to eight, may be core men or army medics would have to come in and hold on my tubes and assist me and, you know, hold my braces for my arms and just, everything that come with just helping me to get to sit up was a huge task, and I wanted to get to where they did not have to help me and they did not have to say, “Oh man, we got to get a team together again cause Carpenter wants to move.” I wanted to get past that. I wanted to go to the bathroom on my own. I mean, people do not realize it is very difficult, you are in the best shape of your life. I took a machine gun in Afghanistan with 800 rounds in my pack on my bag waiting through canals one day and the next day, I cannot even go to the bathroom on my own without 5 people in the room helping me and watching me. So I wanted to get past that and I just wanted to, to get better for myself. I wanted to get stronger and get more healthy. So there are small goals and turn into big goals, which, you know, was I wanted to just stand up on my own and walk to the bathroom that was in my hospital room with me, which was only about 4 feet or 5 feet to the door from my bed, but that was just a monumental feet and when I reached that, I wanted to walk to my door. When I got to my door, I wanted to make it to the hallway and then I wanted to make it the famous lap around the nurse’s station, which if anybody that has ever been to Walter Reed knows when you get well enough, you either roll your wheelchair, you walk and you make a one full lap around the nurses station and you ring a bell and all of the doctors and nurses and hospital staff, the whole floor erupts and cheering and clapping, and I wanted to get to that moment and then I wanted to walk 5 laps and 10 laps and then ____ became I want to run a marathon and you know, a huge credit to my support system. To my community back here in South Carolina, to my family, to my friends, to the amazing, above all, to the amazing staff at Walter Reed Military Medicine, the doctors, the core men, the medics, the nurses, just the team there, not only helps you physically. Not only comes in and says we are going to get you better because that is our job. It is we are going to get you better because we truly care about you, because you wear a uniform just like we do and your fellow brothers and sisters in arms, and we just want to help you. So, it starts there and I just had an amazing medical team behind me and they really helped me to get me to where I am today and to get my injuries as best and repaired as they could and fast forward a few years and about 40 surgeries and a lot of therapy later, and I ran my first marathon. And I ran the year after that, so I ran two in a row, two Marine Corps marathons in Washington, DC and the second one, I skydived into with a team called Team Fast Tracks and it is just uh, it has been a great journey of healing that was very hard, but at the same time, those 3 years in the hospital gave me a perspective and appreciation and a love for life that unfortunately for a lot of people can only come through something like that. I would not trade my time in the hospital for anything. It taught me a lot and it helped me to be who I am today and it really gave me an appreciation for working hard, to get through hard times and if you work hard, you get results and if you do get things, then treat yourself well and then you know, you get rewarded for that. Your body rewards you, and I think you just feel a better sense of yourself that you really push through something and you face adversity and now you are on the other side of it looking back and you not only have great life lessons that you have learned, but like I said, you have a perspective and an appreciation for life that sometimes can only be obtained through very difficult or trying hard circumstances.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Uh, I first learned about the possibility me receiving the medal, I guess, initially, which was not official at all, but I spent, roughly 2 months at Walter Reed recovering and then I was transferred to Richmond, Virginia to the VA there to a polytrauma unit where I did, I guess the second phase, not really the immediate lifesaving or reconstructive steps, but more of the therapy and getting on my feet and really getting feeling better. So I went to that polytrauma unit, and I left there and went home to recover for a few months and rest up. The very end of February and right before I left there, a few days before, one of my really good friends, he was in Afghanistan with me, fortunately, he made it through the deployment without getting injured or anything happening and he called me and this was roughly 2-1/2, almost 3 months later after my injury, and he told me that all the marines that were there with me that day and all the marines that I was over there with and that they believed and that they have written me up for the very first steps and first initiating process steps of the Medal of Honor and they told me they love me and they believed that I should receive it and even if I did not receive it, they are going to try as best they could to write it up and push it up the chain of command and so.... You know I was very medicated, I listened to what he was saying, but one, they did not really think it would go too far past that patrol base and the other, you know, our bodies obviously were very close and they love me and they always took care of me, so, you know, it is just something you cannot really comprehend and especially at those stages of just the very, very, very beginning steps and process of it. It is almost like, okay, thank you, I really appreciate, but that is never going to happen. After that, you know, I do not think about it...the Marine Corps times, kind of a year, a year and a half later, so they did a couple of stories, but through the years of investigation and all the way through my retiring at Walter Reed in July 2013, and even starting school year at University of South Carolina. I never really thought about it. I never crossed my hand. I did not ever count on it or even really think it would happen. One day, I want to say was late, late fall in 2013, and early, early spring, maybe January 2014, winter of 2014, I started to kind of get checked in on by people from the Pentagon and by marines and it was never, “Hey, you’re getting this.” It was, at first, just checking in on me, keeping in touch, seeing how I was doing, seeing what was going on, and then it started becoming a little more official, and I had already started school and I had already done my first semester, and the second spring semester of my freshman year. It got to the point to where you never really know it is going to be official until that moment, but I returned from school. I returned from my classes because of the preparation and the amount of trips I had to do up to D.C. and to the Pentagon, and it is kind of crazy to do all of these interviews and do all these things to get ready when you do not even really know if it is going to happen yet, and so I withdrew that spring of 2014 and we did the bar grade ____ interviews, and we did things to prepare, and I went through public affairs training and questioning, and the Marine Corps and the Pentagon. Everyone just did an amazing job to first of all support me and be friends and help my family and they just did a tremendous job through the entire process, not even knowing if I was going to get it, but just really taking care of us and getting us as best prepared as we could be, if it was going to happen, and I official got the phone call in February 2014 and, you know, from that moment on we really started to get ready and to buckle down and on June 19, 2014 is when myself and my family went to Washington, D.C. and had the ceremony and I received a Medal of Honor.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

It was. The call from the President is very much prepared and set it up in advance. I knew the day and the hour and the exact minute that he was going to call, so my family could be a part of it. I actually got out of class a couple of hours before the call and I drove home to my home residence of my parents, where I am from, which is about 30 minutes away from here, and I drove home and I sat in the living room with them. My mother was all worked up and nervous because I said I was going to put it on speaker phone so they could hear the...that was an important moment in my life and I wanted them to be a part of it and mother did not know that the requirements or the rules, or regulations on putting the President of the United States on speaker phone, but I am very glad I did and I did that so they could listen. My parents and my brothers were in the living room with me and I got the call when it is supposed to come, and he just told me that he is proud of me, thanking me for my service, and told me that based upon the recommendation from the Secretary of the Navy and Secretary of Defense, he was proud that he would be awarding me and presenting me with the Medal of Honor.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

The ceremony was very surreal. Even looking back, you know, a year later now, almost a year later, talking with my parents and those who were there, it is just...all those things that is so amazing that you look back and you say, did I really do that or no. It was an amazing experience and one that I will never forgot, in the Marine Corps, and the DOD, and just the White House staff. Everybody did such an amazing job to document it, and so I always have those memories and my family always has those memories now, and it was a very important and meaningful point in my life, but, you know, it does not define me. It is a part of my life, a part of my history, and who I am, but that was just another moment and another time of things that I am accomplishing and trying to tackle in life to the best of my ability to really just make a future for myself after that ceremony and since that ceremony. I am very thankful for that opportunity and the chance to have experienced that and I will forever be grateful for it, but you know looking back it is almost hard to comprehend because it was so surreal.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Well, you know, it is...to be around the President, it was...and to be in the Oval Office was just also surreal. I mean, to shake the hands of the man that, you know, has such an integral part of the world, in our country, and that as our Commander in Chief was amazing. Himself and his wife thanked me and were very appreciative for my service and our quick meeting in the Oval Office was incredible, and he signed the official papers in front of me at the Oval Office desk, and I guess signifying that my Medal of Honor was official. It was right before we walked into the wing of the White House where the ceremony was. He signed the papers and he gave me the pen that he signed them with, and told me thank you and then we made the walk to the east wing, and it was a very powerful moment and one that I will never forget, just taking a casual stroll with the President and the First Lady at the White House.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Oh, absolutely. My fellow marines from my unit, those that were the first ones to put their hands on me and help save my life on the roof were there. The guys that I was in boot camp with were there. My drill instructors were there and a big part of the 100 people that I was able to invite was my hospital staff and the doctors, and the nurses, and the military and medical personnel that are taking care of me and I really just tried to invite, even professors here from the University of South Carolina. People that have helped me since I got out of the military, since I started school here, I really just tried to invite all the people that have helped me out along the way to help myself and my family get me and them to where we are today and really just a way to say thank you. I just invited all those people over the years that have helped me become the marine and the person I am, and I wanted to just tell them thank you, so I actually got myself and the President and his staff we kind of discussed and decided that it had never been done before, but I wanted during my ceremony a moment to be taken and my medical and military medical staff that had helped me and did my surgeries and therapy and all of them that were there, they were asked to stand up and got recognized, not only for their service, but their service to me and my health care and my family, and just really amazing people all throughout my life that have helped me and that is who I wanted my guests to me, and so my fellow marines that were there with me in Afghanistan and in 2/9, and even marines that had helped me in the hospital that were in administrative roles who I had become great friends with, that were not with me in 2/9 or in Afghanistan, even they were there, so it was an amazing moment above all because all those people that had helped me had had a vital role in different times and different points and areas of my life. All were in the same room. All my military medical doctors, my fellow marines, they all got to meet my extended family, which would have never happened if a ceremony had not taken place, so for all of them to meet each other and to get to know each other and for all these people that were all over from different times and points in my life to all meet and have that moment together was really amazing.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

It is. I will not say that I do not like to wear it, but you know one aspect, I never want anybody thinking that I am wearing it for my benefit or for my glorification. It is a difficult medal to wear because of what comes with it. It is not just a medal, it is not just a blue ribbon, it is not just something you wear. It represents our country, it represents our history, it represents those that have given life and limb in all different sorts of conflicts that we have been in throughout our history, from the European campaign war II through the Pacific Islands, through Vietnam, through Korea, you know, just to think back and just those that froze to death at The Battle of Chosin Reservoir, you know I wear it for them. I wear it for those that did not make it back from Afghanistan, not even those that have been injured or being killed. I wear it for all those that have raised their right hand and served and sacrificed, for those that have never been in the military, for Americans, across our nation, across the world, I wear it for them and I wear it as a symbol of freedom, something that we fought long and hard and sacrificed for our democracy, something that an intangible idea that unfortunately many, many people and nations around the world just cannot bat them. I wear it for those women and children who I saw in Afghanistan that were walking with no shoes on, on rocky roads with their farm animals behind them as the sun was coming up, little children that had just started walking weeks before, walking out to go into the fields to do hard manual labor. Uh, those that walked miles and miles throughout hot deserts, dusty roads in Africa to get semi-clean drinking water. It is just you know, we are very fortunate, very blessed in this nation to have what we have and to live the way we do and you know, a lot of sacrifice and a lot of hurt and you know, even family sacrifice - those who have stood behind their loved ones and their military members that unfortunately had to have someone stand outside their door and tell them the tragic news that their loved one was not going to make it home. It represents a lot and it represents the Marine Corps, but it is so much bigger than the Marine Corps and our military. It just represents so much and so many things out there and so many different ideas and it is very heavy to wear. I am very fortunate and thankful and grateful and honored that I have been presented with the Medal of Honor. I am a recipient, but I carry it and I wear it with a very heavy heart and you know, even to have the mindset every single day, day in and day out, to you know just want to make those that I hope and live my life to try and inspire and to help people when I go speak and just always know that I am an example, that whether people look up to or not, I am a Medal of Honor recipient and I always want to try to do my best and live my life to honor those that cannot wear it and that those that I wear it for and in no way do I wear it for myself. Whenever I am forced to drape it around my neck and I have it on, I do it for all those that cannot and all the reasons that you know, people might never think about.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Okay.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

I wear the medal for all Americans, for all people around the world as a symbol of hope and freedom and sacrifice and democracy and I especially, above all, wear it for those that have given life and limb to defend those ideas and to help people around the world and that those who have bled out on foreign lands around the world and those dark places that nobody wants to go, but that great Americans have raised their right hand to go and serve and sacrifice and especially for those that never made it back and that were killed, and made the ultimate sacrifice and that do not have the option or the ability to wear it.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Okay, so I will not say anybody...?

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

I wear the medal for all Americans and for all of those who have served and sacrificed and especially for those who have not made it back and made the ultimate sacrifice.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

If I had to say the two key values that the medal means to me, I would say freedom and democracy.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Absolutely. The medal absolutely represents sacrifice and, you know, not only from a military perspective, but the medal being a medal for all Americans even if you are not in the military, incidentally in life, every single day there are situations or circumstances where you can step up and you can sacrifice for your fellowmen. From the smallest to the biggest thing, we are all presented with opportunities and the medal represents sacrifice and that sacrifice can be shown on a daily basis looking out for your fellowmen, for one another, and sacrificing for them. You know, in military perspective, whether it is in a firefight or in a combat zone or here in Columbia, South Carolina, there are always people that are in need and there are always people in place that can sacrifice and step up to the plate and help each other out.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

It appears the same thing just ____ service.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Yeah, all right. Service and sacrifice are two aspects that the metal represents perfectly, whether you are in the military or right here on the streets of Columbia, South Carolina as a civilian, everybody should serve. There are always people that need help. There are always people and things and ideas that you can serve, whether it is your country or fellowmen, services or sacrifice are extremely important. People need to realize that without service and sacrifice, we would not have the nation we do today not even from a combat and gaining freedom and democracy perspective, but think about if the service was not a part of our daily lives or people were not willing to serve, doctors, nurses, firefighters, police officers, and teachers. The best and greatest aspects of our country are based on service. You know, there are tremendous Americans that have sacrificed in any way and in every way since the family or our country is the reason that we have the ability of living in such an amazing country and with such an amazing group of Americans that we do.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

When I am speaking to kids, I just keep it simple. I keep to where they can understand and I do not really get it for the whole leadership and perspective side of things. I understand that, you know, and the military and the Marine Corps and combat is already just a huge idea for them to wrap their head around, so I really just try to stick to listen to your parents or listen to those parental figures and listen to your teachers and work hard and do the right thing and, you know, look out for your classmates and your friends and just, I try to tell them how the difficult life and how I saw other kids live around the world and how great we have it here, and that is a big deal that they can go to their home and get an afternoon snack and sit in air conditioning and turn faucet and get fresh drink of a water, so I keep it simple, but I try to tie in big lessons with this simplicity.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

They always had their questions. The no filter little kid questions that...I think they respond and I think they realize that I went through something very hard and I had a lot of injuries and all little kids can understand injuries or scrapes or cuts, or pains to some extend, so I tried to tell them that and then I tried to tell that if you listen to good people and you surround yourself with good people and work hard and do good things that you can get through anything.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

I enjoyed talking to any groups. They all have different aspects and on a professional note, it is challenging for me to, you know, 1 week they speak into a Fortune 500 financial corporation or company and the next day you will be speaking to an elementary school. It challenges me to speak into different people who are in different groups with different ideas, but I am sorry...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

I do not think I can answer that good question, but I mean if everybody had a service and a sacrifice above self, so I cannot really even imagine what that world would be like, but even if everybody just decided to have a little thought and hope of service and sacrifice, it will be amazing. The service of sacrifice is a very powerful thing because you choose to do it. No one makes you serve. No one make you sacrifice...

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

I am.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

Service is extremely important. I do not think it should always be recognized because I do not think people should want the incident more than just the pure service itself, but at the same time, it is very important to recognize people that go above and beyond and serve above themselves, and that shows and allows the opportunity for other people see. Wow! This person is getting recognized because they truly served and they gave a lot of time and effort to help other people or other person, so service is extremely important and, you know, for everybody served, I could not even imagine what our world would be today, but we have so many amazing people in this country that do serve, teachers, firefighters, police officers, military members, just so many people serve in so many ways that, you know, unfortunately, it is impossible to recognize all of them, but that is a biduous service. A lot of times you serve and you give up yourself when no one is watching, and when you are never going to get any sort of reward or recognition for it.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

William Kyle Carpenter:

My military medical staff was amazing. I cannot put them or what they did into words. The amount of service and sacrifice, the long hours and the grueling 13-hour surgeries and everything they went through to help me, but at the same time keep in mind that there was an entire floor in the hospital full of other wounded warriors that they are dealing the same thing for. So, you know, I can remember my trauma surgeons leaving at night at 11:30 at night and being there in my room for rounds at 5:00 a.m., and you got to think they drive home, they have to shower, and eat and take care of themselves and they have 5 hours to do that and they are already back from home on the day of surgeries and taking care of wounded service members, so I could not put into words if I wanted to, but they are just an amazing, amazing group of people.

Unidentified interviewer:

[question not transcribed]

 
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  October 26, 2011
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