06 April 2011

They call him "Headshot"

Sgt. Paul Boothroyd waits for a medevac helicopter after sustaining a sniper round to the head March 4 in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Photo: Courtesy of Sgt. Paul Boothroyd.

Wow. Another amazing close call.

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.

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.’ ”

“My lieutenant pulled me to the edge of the roof so they could take a look at me,” he added. “I got a little upset when they were pulling my Kevlar off. I said, ‘Hey, if that’s holding my brain together, I’m going to be upset if you take it off.’”

The corpsman examining him found the bullet behind his ear. Now he hopes to keep it as a memento.

More at the Marine Corps Times.

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