By Wyatt Crosher, Assistant Director of Communications for Student Affairs
UNC Charlotte is hosting a Q&A panel with two Medal of Honor recipients from 9 to 10 a.m. on Friday, March 24 in the Popp Martin Student Union Theater.
Facilitated by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society (CMOHS), the panel is part of their multi-day schedule to commemorate National Medal of Honor Day on March 25. The UNC Charlotte event will allow student veterans, ROTC students and military-affiliated groups to engage and learn in the areas of leadership, transition and character development. RSVP is required and it is open to the public.
“We are honored to be working with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society to bring these courageous veterans to campus so that they might share their experiences and perseverance with our campus veterans and future service members,” said Bill Wilson, director of the UNC Charlotte Veteran Services Office (VSO).
"Transitioning from the military to higher education can be a daunting task, with many struggling to navigate the new environment,” added Tyler Thomas, VSO program manager. “Hearing from the medalists can help students better frame adapting to challenges and overcoming them regardless of how impossible they may seem.”
The two featured panelists are:
- William Kyle Carpenter was presented his Medal of Honor on June 19, 2014. Carpenter was manning a rooftop in Afghanistan with a fellow Marine when they were attacked with hand grenades. Carpenter moved toward the grenade to shield his fellow Marine from the blast. When it detonated, he was severely wounded, but he saved the fellow Marine’s life.
- Salvatore Augustine Guinta was presented with the Medal of Honor on Nov. 16, 2010 for racing to help his squad leader who was injured following an ambush in Afghanistan. Guinta administered medical aid while exposing himself to enemy fire, which struck his body armor and secondary weapon.
The event will be moderated by Courtney Kube, national security and military correspondent for NBC News Investigative Unit. Closing remarks will be delivered by John Falkenbury, executive vice president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
CMOHS’ membership is composed of those who wear the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award for valor. Medal of Honor recipients are individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty, committed to serving the country in peace as they did in war by championing the values of courage, sacrifice, integrity, commitment, patriotism and citizenship.
“The Medal of Honor is the most distinguished award given to servicemembers for overcoming insurmountable odds,” said Thomas. “Reflecting on the courage and dedication to one's duty, students and the military affiliated community can be inspired to tackle the challenges ahead of them.”
Former Charlotte students and alumni have received a Congressional Medal of Honor in the past:
- Kyle White ('13) received the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2014 by President Obama for his heroic actions in Afghanistan in 2007. White administered life-saving medical aid to comrades and radioed situational reports after his team of 14 soldiers was ambushed.
- In 2020, the CMOHS posthumously awarded UNC Charlotte student Riley Howell from Waynesville, NC with a Single Act of Heroism Award. Howell is credited with saving many lives by shielding classmates from the gunman who killed two students, Howell and Reed Parlier, and injured four others on April 30, 2019.