Marine of the Week | Youngest Medal of Honor Recipient

Lance Corporal William Kyle Carpenter

Company F, 2d Battalion 9th Marines

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an Automatic Rifleman with Company F, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division (Forward), 1 Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on 21 November 2010. Lance Corporal Carpenter was a member of a platoon-sized coalition force, comprised of two reinforced Marine squads partnered with an Afghan National Army squad. The platoon had established Patrol Base Dakota two days earlier in a small village in the Marjah District in order to disrupt enemy activity and provide security for the local Afghan population. Lance Corporal Carpenter and a fellow Marine were manning a rooftop security position on the perimeter of Patrol Base Dakota when the enemy initiated a daylight attack with hand grenades, one of which landed inside their sandbagged position. Without hesitation, and with complete disregard for his own safety, Lance Corporal Carpenter moved toward the grenade in an attempt to shield his fellow Marine from the deadly blast. When the grenade detonated, his body absorbed the brunt of the blast, severely wounding him, but saving the life of his fellow Marine. By his undaunted courage, bold fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of almost certain death, Lance Corporal Carpenter reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

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Sgt. Samantha Alexander, Distribution Management Office freight noncommissioned officer in charge aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal on Nov. 13 for saving the life of a local teenager April 25, 2019.

She was driving home with her daughter and as she turned into her neighborhood the car ahead of her slammed on the breaks and swerved, hitting two boys on their bicycles.

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“I didn’t choose the Marine Corps, it chose me.” Those words still resonate with one man, 45 years after first enlisting.

In 1972, Ernest B. Freeman walked into a recruiting station in Middletown, New York, one morning to enlist in the U.S. Army and walked out as a U.S. Marine Corps enlistee.

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Arriving at Parris Island

Three of us got off a Grayhound bus at the front gate of Parris Island at 0200 the morning of March 24, 1965. The guards laughed at us. One of them, a Lance Corporal, said something like, “You’re gonna regret this.”
A pickup with an OD canvas cover framed over the bed loaded us in the back and we headed for the receiving barracks.
Some recruits had been there for days because recruiting was slow at the time. We were picked up about three hours later, our heads shaved, showered, got uniforms, M-14s, bucket issue, and herded by at least 4 megaphone-loud Drill Instructors across the parade deck to 1st Battalion.
One recruit tripped over his bootlaces and spilled everything onto the parade deck. He was immediately confronted by a Drill Instructor and named Private Crazy for the length of his PI residency. The squad bay steam radiators had the temperature up to about 95 degrees. Platoon 120 would be on the island for 13 weeks because it took two weeks to form a company before training could begin. We drilled and ran and did PT and “learned how to fall” for those two weeks, and swept the company-wide competitions until graduation.

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Hollywood Marines Had It Made!

When I got off the train at Yamasee, SC in Aug. 1961 our Drill Instructor (a DI was Jake Webb in the movies that we learned the hard way) was a interesting young man that had a very loud voice and an abrasive attitude. He turned out to be one of our junior Drill Instructors (Sgt. Adcock). He was a young female feline compared to SSgt. Jacoby who was the Senior Drill Instructor. When we reached Parris Island the next day I don’t remember yellow footprints. I suspect they came later for the intellectually deprived recruits which also deprived the Drill Instructors the FUN of getting the mob in line. Memories!!!!

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After 13 weeks of boot camp, during which about half of all
Communication coming down from your DIs is expletives, the most
common verb, pronoun and adjective in your vocabulary becomes the
crude, four letter word most commonly used to describe a most beautiful
and natural function of mankind. All Marines have heard the story of the
young Marine home fresh from boot camp. Previously quite outgoing, he is
strangely quiet during the first, special, homecoming dinner – attended by
favorite aunts, uncles, grandparents and siblings, all beaming with pride at
their young Marine. Mom, sensing some tenseness, asks “Johnny, you are
being very quiet. Is there something wrong?” Johnny responds “No, Mom.
I’m just afraid if I talk too much, I’ll f**k up!” Obviously, in “polite company”,
freshly anointed Marines have to be on their toes.

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U.S. Marines are known for their fast thinking and courage in a time of need. Marines are taught from day one the core values of honor, courage and commitment. U.S. Marine Cpl. Alexandra Nowak, an administrative specialist with Alpha Company, Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations West, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, exemplified unwavering courage when she saved the lives of three people Sept. 20.

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