Life or death in wartime is horrifically random, subject to “fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,” but sometimes that randomness generates not tragedy, but miracles. Such is the story of Army Sergeant Roger Daniels.
On a patrol in Afghanistan last August, Daniels, then just 21 years old, took a bullet to the head and survived with just a concussion because his helmet stopped the high-powered 7.62 millimeter round – something the standard-issue Advanced Combat Helmet was never designed to do. Last Friday, after experts at the Army’s PEO-Soldier unit had spent a year studying the miracle helmet, Daniels got it back in a ceremony at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.
Daniels’ survival tells us a lot about luck – “I guess I just got lucky,” he told the Tacoma News-Tribune – but it also tells us a lot about technology. Over the past 12 years of war there has been a quiet revolution in military body armor, from helmets to breastplates to, yes, groin protectors that have saved countless soldiers from injury or death.