EXCLUSIVE – As he begins his two-day swing through the crucial early voting state of South Carolina on Monday, Fox News has learned that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will be endorsed by 12 Medal of Honor recipients — or 15 percent of all living recipients of the nation’s highest military honor.
The endorsements will come after a private meeting between Bush and veterans in Charleston, S.C., and are part of the first phase of the campaign’s national veterans coalition roll out, a senior staffer says.
Among those meeting and endorsing Bush will be South Carolinian Kyle Carpenter, who as a Marine lance corporal fighting in Afghanistan in 2010 shielded a fellow Marine from a hand grenade blast with his body.
“When the grenade detonated, his body absorbed the brunt of the blast, severely wounding him, but saving the life of his fellow Marine,” states Carpenter’s official citation, which commends “his undaunted courage”.
Bush, who spoke at the Iowa State Fair on Friday, will participate in a veterans and military town hall later in Monday, which will be hosted by Concerned Veterans for America.
There are nearly 400,000 veterans living in South Carolina, more than in the other early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The full list of Medal of Honor recipients who will endorse Bush’s presidential campaign is below.
Kyle Carpenter, USMC, Afghanistan
James Livingston, USMC, Vietnam
Harold “Hal” Fritz, USA, Vietnam
Jay Vargas, USMC, Vietnam
Alfred Rascon, USA, Vietnam
Leo Thorsness, USAF, Vietnam, former Prisoner of War
Bruce P. Crandall, USA, Vietnam
Robert Modrzejewski, USMC, Vietnam
James Taylor, USA, Vietnam
Sammy Davis, USA, Vietnam
Leroy Petry, USA, Afghanistan
Donald “Doc” Ballard, USA/USN, Vietnam
Serafin Gomez covers Special Events and Politics for FOX News Channel and is also a contributor to FOX News Latino. Fin formerly worked as the Miami Bureau Producer for Fox News Channel where he covered Latin America. Follow him on Twitter: @Finnygo.