On a dusty roof in Marjah, Afghanistan, in 2010, then-Lance Cpl. Kyle Carpenter threw himself on a grenade thrown onto his post by a Taliban fighter, saving the life of his friend and fellow Marine.
Carpenter’s actions led to him becoming one of only two Marine recipients of the Medal of Honor during the war in Afghanistan, and also caused him to sustain devastating injuries that required dozens of surgeries and years of recovery.
On Oct. 15 Carpenter released his memoir, “You Are Worth It: Building a Life Worth Fighting For,” describing his journey from a young boy moving around the South, through his deployment in the middle of the surge in Afghanistan, to his surprise waking up in a military hospital followed by years in a cycle of surgery and therapy.
Carpenter imparts the wisdom he learned on the way with book chapters like: “You are more than your ribbon rack or resume” and “Call your mom.”
On Friday, Carpenter recounted what little he remembered from the day he was injured to a crowd mostly made up of active-duty and veteran Marines at a book signing event at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia.
The book “encourages us to become our best selves in the time we’ve been given on earth,” according to the bio on Amazon. “Above all, it’s about finding purpose, regardless of the hurdles that may block our way.”
Retired Marine Gen. Jim Mattis said the book “will inspire every reader,” according to reviews.
“How I felt physically is really the only thing I remember from that day,” Carpenter said. “I felt like I got hit really hard in the face, my visions was as if I was looking at a TV with no connection; it was very static; my ears were ringing extremely loudly, just as they are at this very moment and I was very confused and disoriented.”
Carpenter said he only realized what had happened when his confusion was “interrupted by what I thought was warm water being poured all over me, and I was thinking are you serious in this banged up state I’m in my buddies are still messing with me right now."
“But that was the final question mark piece that allowed the other ones to fall into place, and I realized that what I was feeling was not warm water, but was blood and I was profusely bleeding out,” he added.
Despite some of his experiences that are unique to combat veterans, Carpenter said he hoped his book would be relatable to anyone who read it.
“I wanted to write a book that transcended all boundaries,” Carpenter said. “I want at the end of this, you know, Fortune 500 company CEOs, all the way to, you know, a homeless person unfortunately on the street, not only to be able to pick this up but understand it and relate to it."
“Everyone physically, mentally or emotionally can relate to struggle," Carpenter said.