“Manning the top of a compound south of Sangin, Afghanistan, Sgt. Paul Boothroyd III took a sniper round to the head. He landed face down onto the muddy roof with a thud.
Fifteen minutes later, Boothroyd was bandaged, smiling, smoking a cigarette and giving the “thumbs up” as he waited for the medevac helicopter, to which he walked under his own power.
It’s a “you-gotta-be-kidding-me” story that earned Boothroyd, a signals intelligence operator with 2nd Radio Battalion, a new call sign from his team members: Headshot.
“It was a one-in-a-million shot that the sniper was even able to hit me,” he said in an interview with Marine Corps Times, “and a one-in-a-million chance that the bullet didn’t destroy my brain. It wasn’t my time.”
Early March 4 in Helmand province, Boothroyd, attached to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, was on a rooftop providing over-watch for a local security patrol. It was his first deployment. Insurgents opened fire, “and I got hit by the first bullet,” he said.
The bullet pierced his helmet. The Kevlar caught and turned the round, he said, “so instead of going in and thrashing my skull,” it entered through the neck and lodged itself above and behind his right ear.
“It was like being hit by a train,” he recalled. “I remember what I was doing. I remember being hit, then I was face down in the mud on top of the building. I really wasn’t terribly concerned because I could hear bullets whipping above me, but I still had the presence of mind not to stand up. I thought, ‘Well, I don’t have any brain damage, at least at this point.’ ”
You can read the whole account here. [...]
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