WASHINGTON, D.C. -

President Barack Obama said the country's newest Medal of Honor recipient should not be alive, but thanks God that he is.

President Obama said retired Cpl. William "Kyle" Carpenter --who was a Camp Lejeune Marine-- threw himself on a grenade, "one of the most awful weapons of war," to save a fellow Marine.

In a ceremony at the White House Thursday, Obama presented the 24-year-old with the eighth Medal of Honor given to a survivor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.

President Obama said Carpenter's heroism in that blink of an eye in Afghanistan in 2010 "will inspire for generations." Carpenter was severely injured in the blast, including the loss of sight in his right eye. His body was shattered and a lung collapsed as well.

The president said Carpenter flat-lined three times while doctors tended to him after the blast. He recognized Carpenter's medical team at a ceremony in the White House East Room.

"As I stand before you today, I am truly honored and humbled," Carpenter said at the ceremony. "Yet I accept this honor with a heavy heart. As the president put the Medal of Honor around my neck, I felt the history and the weight of the nation."

According to the Marine Corps Times, Carpenter's unit was Fox Company 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines based at Camp Lejeune. His unit lost two other Marines during his deployment, the Marine Corps Times reports.

Video: CNN