Inside the Painstaking Recovery Process of a Medal of Honor Marine

By Thomas James Brennan—Vanity Fair—November 11, 2016—

The thick steel body of the grenade flexed and swelled before exploding and tearing flesh and bone from Lance Corporal Kyle Carpenter’s face. The date was November 21, 2010. The place was Marjah, Afghanistan. For seven days, the extent of Carpenter’s wounds remained a mystery to his family. Despite e-mails, voicemails, and calls with Marine Corps representatives, his mother and father knew only that their son was being evacuated from Afghanistan in critical condition. The military told them that Kyle had been badly wounded and that his chances of survival were unknown. On November 25, Thanksgiving Day, Robin and Jim Carpenter drove 12 hours, slowed by the holiday traffic, from Gilbert, South Carolina, to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Maryland, to await their son’s arrival. His flight was delayed because of blood clots in his legs. A flight at high altitude could have killed him …

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