While serving as a Marine rifleman in Afghanistan at age 20, on the morning of November 21st, 2010, Lance Corporal Carpenter’s squad was attacked by Taliban forces. During the attack, a live grenade landed between Kyle and a fellow Marine. In a courageous act to save his fellow Marine, Kyle threw himself on the grenade.
Kyle’s injuries were severe – he was unconscious for five weeks and spent almost three years recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. He had lost his right eye, most of his teeth, and his right arm was broken in 30 places. He went through roughly 40 surgeries during his recovery. After completing his surgeries, while still working towards a complete recovery, Kyle worked as an intern on Capitol Hill, in the House of Veteran Affairs Committee, under Congressman Jeff Miller. He also obtained a top secret security clearance in order to complete an internship at the National Counter Terrorism Center, where he was the first intern to ever brief the White House along with all 16 intelligence agencies.
During his grueling recovery process, Kyle’s spirit remained strong. He set several post-recovery goals for himself: run a marathon, earn a college degree, backpack across Europe, and go skydiving. After nearly three years of recovery, Kyle was released from the hospital at age 24 and has since been able to accomplish every post-recovery goal and many more.
On June 19, 2014, Kyle was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama for his self-sacrificing act of valor. Kyle is the youngest living recipient of the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest military award for valor. In addition to the Medal of Honor, Kyle’s military awards include a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO Service Medal, Combat Action Ribbon and the Purple Heart, the award for which he is most proud.
In 2015, Kyle was the first military veteran to be inducted into the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Kyle received the “Portrait Of A Nation” prize alongside Hank Aaron and Aretha Franklin.
In 2019, Kyle published his autobiography, You are Worth It: Building A Life Worth Fighting For. It not only tells the story of the events leading up to November 21st, 2010 and the recovery period which followed, but it is also a story of rebirth and overcoming adversity, of how Kyle battled back from the gravest challenge to forge a life of joyful purpose. His autobiography earned him a 2019, Silver Nautilus Book Award under the Heroic Journeys category.
Kyle graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and a minor in history and travels the country and world as a professional speaker with the Washington Speakers Bureau. His most notable speaking engagements and appearances include, Fox and Friends, Forbes, Vanity Fair, Katie Couric, Simon Sinek, MSNBC’s Morning Joe, ESPN: E60, iHeart Radio, SiriusXM, Uber, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Facebook and David Letterman. He also appears in notable podcasts with podcasters such as John Maxwell, Rachel Hollis, Tanks Good New, Order of Man and Zero Blog Thirty.
Kyle joined the Headstrong Board of Directors in mid-2021 and resides in North Carolina with his fiancée, Brittany.