June 30, 2014 --
The United States Marine Band recently had the honor and privilege to support numerous events surrounding the Medal of Honor Ceremony for retired Marine Cpl. Kyle Carpenter. A Marine Brass Quintet performed honors for the ceremony at the White House on June 19 and a Marine Jazz Combo played music for attendees both before and after the ceremony.
On June 20, the Marine Band participated in the Medal of Honor Flag Presentation Ceremony at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., where Commandant of the Marine Corps General James F. Amos presented the Medal of Honor flag to Cpl. Carpenter. The flag is light blue with gold fringe and bearing thirteen white stars in configuration similar to the Medal of Honor ribbon and is authorized for presentation to recipients of the Medal of Honor. Later that same day, Carpenter was inducted into the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon where a Marine String Quartet performed and baritone vocalist Master Sgt. Kevin Bennear sang the National Anthem.
Carpenter received the medal for his courageous actions during combat operations against an armed enemy in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. During an attack, Carpenter and a fellow Marine took cover on a low rooftop when a grenade landed nearby with the pin already pulled. Instantly, Carpenter lunged toward the grenade to protect his fellow Marines and took the brunt of the blow. One of the doctors who treated him later said Carpenter was “literally wounded from the top of his head to his feet.”
In his remarks at the White House, President Barack Obama stated that Carpenter “faced down that terrible explosive power, that unforgiving force, with his own body —willingly and deliberately—to protect a fellow Marine.”
At the Medal of Honor Flag Presentation, Gen. Amos praised Carpenter for his sacrifice and loyalty to fellow Marines. Following the Commandant’s remarks, Carpenter stated that being a Marine and what he did was all part of a bigger purpose.
“I wear this medal around my neck for you,” he said to family and fellow Marines during the ceremony. “My goal and motivation every day is to make you proud.”