Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, Medal of Honor recipient, receives sendoff - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Overwhelming send-off kicks off DC trip for Cpl. Kyle Carpenter

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It's rare that you see the type of preparation and the kind of emotion that was seen as Columbia Metropolitan Airport recently as veterans stood by.

"We're here for Kyle Carpenter," one veteran said.

Carpenter's send-off saw veterans waiting for the University of South Carolina student to make his way into the airport as he prepared for his trip to the White House to receive the Medal of Honor.

"For him to receive this honor," Patriot Guard Riders State Captain Joe Padgett said, "it's an honor for South Carolina, not just for him."

Carpenter didn't know a line of veterans and supports would be waiting, but he's honored they showed up.

"It's a little overwhelming," Carpenter said. "They're really good people."

Carpenter is on his way to Washington, D.C., where President Barack Obama will present him with the Medal of Honor putting him in elite company.

"He's the first South Carolina recipient since Vietnam," Padgett said.

As he walked through the airport, checking in like anyone else, you know he's special. It's not just because of the attention's he getting, but because of what he says about receiving the nation's highest military honor.

"I'm definitely going to accept it with a heavy heart," Carpenter said, "knowing that a lot don't make it back. There's guys that are more injured than me that are still over there fighting and that are recovering in the hospital."

His mom, Robin, is just as proud as you'd expect.

"We just know that he is going to be just the most awesome ambassador for the Marines and for all service members," she said.

Kyle knows the Medal of Honor comes with a lot of responsibility.

"I will wear it for South Carolina and this nation," Carpenter said.

And with a send-off fit for a hero, Kyle Carpenter headed off to embark on the next journey with a proud group of veterans and supporters cheering him on.

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