Just as the Medal of Honor (MoH) itself has grown and developed since 1862, so too has the society that represents the men who wear it. The Medal of Honor Society consists of all living recipients of the medal, working to preserve its legacy and principles. Their convention brings together the MoH recipients, and this year, the youngest and oldest living Marine recipients met and posed for an epic photo.
Retired Marine Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, 28, said that he was “beyond humbled and honored” upon meeting with retired Marine Chief Warrant Officer-4 Hershel “Woody” Williams, 94, at the conference.
“As the youngest living recipient I can only hope to one day live up to his legacy,” Carpenter added.
Carpenter was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism on Nov. 21, 2010, in which he threw himself on an enemy grenade that had landed on a rooftop security post, saving the life of a fellow Marine during the Battle of Marjah.
“Carpenter moved toward the grenade in an attempt to shield his fellow Marine from the deadly blast,” the award citation reads. “When the grenade detonated, his body absorbed the brunt of the blast, severely wounding him, but saving the life of his fellow Marine.”
Carpenter nearly died from the grenade shrapnel, which tore into his face and body. He lost his right eye and many of his teeth, and has undergone dozens of surgeries since.
Williams was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on Feb. 23, 1945, during the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima. Then-Cpl. Williams charged alone toward concrete pillboxes where the Japanese were firing machine guns in order to “wipe out one position after another” with explosive charges and flamethrowers.
“On one occasion, he daringly mounted a pillbox to insert the nozzle of his flamethrower through the air vent, killing the occupants and silencing the gun; on another he grimly charged enemy riflemen who attempted to stop him with bayonets and destroyed them with a burst of flame from his weapon,” his citation reads.
Former soldier Robert D. Maxwell, 97, received the MoH for his heroism in France during World War II. He is the oldest of four living Medal of Honor recipients from that war, making him the oldest living MoH recipient.