Meet the man who threw himself on a grenade in Afghanistan to save his best friend.
On November 21, 2010, Lance Corporal Kyle Carpenter and his best friend, Nick Eufrazio, were bombarded with a grenade blast that changed both of their lives. The amazing story of how Carpenter risked his life to save his best friend -- and his long recovery from the impact -- has recently gone viral on Reddit.
The Marine Corps Times reported that Carpenter and Eufrazio were at a guard post near Marjah, Afghanistan, when insurgents chucked a hand grenade on a roof where the two Marines were posting security.
Carpenter didn't hesitate to fling his whole body on the grenade, protecting his best friend and the rest of the troops by taking 99 percent of the blast.
As a result of his heroic deed, Carpenter's jaw was blown off and lay against his shoulder -- somehow still attached. Most of his teeth were gone, his left eye was mangled, and he sustained severe trauma to his right arm, which had severe tissue damage and more than 30 fractures.
Although his body had absorbed almost the entire explosion, his friend Eufrazio fared much worse. A couple tiny slivers of shrapnel had managed to get by Carpenter's body, and were lodged in Eufrazio's brain.
Even in the midst of his own horrific wounds and painful recovery, Carpenter feels guilty for not having absorbed 100 percent of the blast, reported the New York Times.
According to the Military Times, there has been some inquiry as to what exactly happened that day in Afghanistan. Others who were there, however, confirm that Carpenter, in a heroic gesture, risked his life for the others.
LCpl Jared Lilly told the Blaze:
"I was there that day, I was the first one on the roof and I saw the aftermath. There is no doubt in my mind that Kyle jumped on that grenade. Grenades push everything away when they blow up not draw them to the blast seat. Kyle’s upper body was positioned directly on top of the blast seat. Thats the kinda of guy that Kyle was, and Nick was like his little brother."
Thirty surgeries and 19 months later, Carpenter is still in the middle of a slow recovery. He documents his efforts on his Facebook page, Operation Kyle.
Eufrazio, meanwhile, is on his own slow road to recovery after suffering a traumatic brain injury from the shrapnel.
The Times reports that since the incident, Carpenter has become an ambassador, of sorts, for the Marine Corps and its wounded warriors. He inspires family, friends and fellow Marines with his undying optimism in the face of a difficult recovery.
CORRECTION: In an earlier version of this story, the headline incorrectly referred to Lance Cpl. Kyle Carpenter as a soldier. He is a Marine.