Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. -- Medal of Honor recipient Cpl. Kyle Carpenter visited with Marines aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, June 27.
The visit to Camp Lejeune was Carpenter’s last stop on a one week tour around multiple military installations throughout the United States. He said he couldn’t imagine ending the tour any other way then where he began five years prior.
“It was really special coming back,” said Carpenter a native from Flowood, Miss. “Almost like a sense of closure, being able to come back here and seeing the few guys who are left and meeting the ones who replaced them. I couldn’t think of a better way to end this. To see the wounded warriors and the guys I fought with and bled with its special and I’m definitely glad to be here and be able to speak with all the Marines. It was a great way to wrap up not just these past two weeks, but these past five years.”
During his tour aboard Camp Lejuene, Carpenter visited the Wounded Warrior Battalion-East, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, and the base theater where Marines gathered to hear him speak.
During his speeches, Carpenter mentioned three things; Marines who are struggling are not alone and they should never feel that way, you shouldn’t plan to far ahead, because you never know what life will throw at you, and that he doesn’t wear the Medal of Honor for himself, but for every other Marine, past and present, and the Marines and their families who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Carpenter was stationed at Camp Lejeune, before deploying to Marjah, Afghanistan as an automatic rifleman with 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, in 2010.
Corporal Scott Condrey, a squad leader with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, has served with Carpenter since recruit training, they were roommates at Camp Lejeune and deployed together to Afghanistan.
“I put him on that helicopter thinking he was dead. It was a miracle to find out he was alive,” said Condrey, a native from Douglasville, Ga. “To see him today is unreal. Everyone sees him as a star now with the Medal of Honor, but I still see him as that goofy kid from boot camp and SOI that I grew up with. He was definitely a Marines’ Marine; everyone loved him. Once we hit country he was the most cool and collective guy under fire. So it’s not hard to imagine him doing what he did. He’s definitely an exemplary Marine.”
Carpenter is the youngest living Medal of Honor recipient at the time he received it. Now that he is out Carpenter is attending classes at the University of South Carolina and plans on majoring in psychology.
“To be honest I like the sense of normalcy,” said Carpenter. “Obviously I have to find that sense of balance. But, at the same time I’m going to try and represent the Marine Corps to the best of my ability and the extremely heavy weight that the Medal of Honor comes with. However, the Medal of Honor is a part of me; it’s not what defines me. I’m a normal person, who likes normal things.”