President Obama says retired Marine Corporal Lyle Carpenter is a model to all Americans of the “strength and resilience that define us as a people.”

Carpenter received the Medal of Honor in a ceremony at the White House Thursday afternoon – the highest U.S. military honor awarded for personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty.

Carpenter was seriously wounded in combat in Afghanistan at age 21 in November 2010 when he used his body to shield a fellow Marine from a grenade blast during an attack at their patrol base by insurgents.

He lost an eye, part of his jaw and had to undergo more than 30 surgeries to survive.

The President praised the Lexington County resident and University of South Carolina student, saying there's no better example of what you'd want to see in an American or a Marine.

Carpenter is the eighth living recipient of the Medal of Honor from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the first South Carolina recipient since Vietnam.