Medal of Honor recipient Kyle Carpenter visits Letterman as part of national tour


Cpl. Kyle Carpenter appeared on ‘Late Show with David Letterman’ on Thursday night. (YouTube screen grab)

Marine Cpl. William Kyle Carpenter is keeping up a modern tradition of sorts for Medal of Honor recipients: Touring the country to talk about their experiences in the military and the responsibility that goes with wearing the award.

Among Carpenter’s latest public appearances was a visit to “Late Show with David Letterman” last night, where the two discussed the nation’s highest combat valor award and Carpenter’s experiences recovering from injuries sustained in a 2010 grenade blast in Marja, Afghanistan. It comes after Carpenter received the medal in a White House ceremony on June 19.

Watch the Letterman appearance here:

Carpenter recounted the lead-up to learning that he would receive the Medal of Honor, saying he started taking phone calls “for preparation purposes” in the months beforehand.

“They started out now so official, just checking on me and seeing how things were going and where I was at in life,” Carpenter said. “And then they kind of progressed to that point.”

The “Late Show” was far from Carpenter’s first public appearance. Since receiving the award, he has visited the New York Stock Exchange and Freedom Tower in New York, done several national media interviews, visited Marines in California and thrown out the first pitch at a San Diego Padres game. That, in particular, was remarkable considering how far Carpenter has come: The grenade blast nearly destroyed his pitching arm, causing massive tissue damage and more than 30 fractures.

Carpenter is the second living Marine to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam war. Like the first, Sgt. Dakota Meyer, he continued to document his experiences on social media, including the excellently named Twitter account, @chiksdigscars. Among his latest tweets:

Through it all, Carpenter has shown grace and humility that appears to have resonated with the American people. He has picked up thousands of Twitter followers in the last few days alone.

Dan Lamothe covers national security for The Washington Post and anchors its military blog, Checkpoint.

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