Good Day

Good Day

This is a discussion on Good Day within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; MARJAH, Afghanistan—It is hard to know whether Monday was a very bad day or a very good day for Lance Cpl. Andrew Koenig. On the ...

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Thread: Good Day

  1. #1
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    Array Rock and Glock's Avatar
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    Post Good Day

    MARJAH, Afghanistan—It is hard to know whether Monday was a very bad day or a very good day for Lance Cpl. Andrew Koenig.

    On the one hand, he was shot in the head. On the other, the bullet bounced off him.

    In one of those rare battlefield miracles, an insurgent sniper hit Lance Cpl. Koenig dead on in the front of his helmet, and he walked away from it with a smile on his face.



    "I don't think I could be any luckier than this," Lance Cpl. Koenig said two hours after the shooting.

    Lance Cpl. Koenig's brush with death came during a day of intense fighting for the Marines of Company B, 1st Battalion, 6th Regiment.

    The company had landed by helicopter in the predawn dark on Saturday, launching a major coalition offensive to take Marjah from the Taliban.

    The Marines set up an outpost in a former drug lab and roadside-bomb factory and soon found themselves under near-constant attack.

    Lance Cpl. Koenig, a lanky 21-year-old with jug-handle ears and a burr of sandy hair, is a designated marksman. His job is to hit the elusive Taliban fighters hiding in the tightly packed neighborhood near the base.

    The insurgent sniper hit him first. The Casper, Wyo., native was kneeling on the roof of the one-story outpost, looking for targets.

    He was reaching back to his left for his rifle when the sniper's round slammed into his helmet.

    The impact knocked him onto his back.

    "I'm hit," he yelled to his buddy, Lance Cpl. Scott Gabrian, a 21-year-old from St. Louis.

    Lance Cpl. Gabrian belly-crawled along the rooftop to his friend's side. He patted Lance Cpl. Koenig's body, looking for wounds.

    Then he noticed that the plate that usually secures night-vision goggles to the front of Lance Cpl. Koenig's helmet was missing. In its place was a thumb-deep dent in the hard Kevlar shell.

    Lance Cpl. Gabrian slid his hands under his friend's helmet, looking for an entry wound. "You're not bleeding," he assured Lance Cpl. Koenig. "You're going to be OK."

    Marines took cover after coming under attack during the Marjah offensive Monday.

    Lance Cpl. Koenig climbed down the metal ladder and walked to the company aid station to see the Navy corpsman.

    The only injury: A small, numb red welt on his forehead, just above his right eye.

    He had spent 15 minutes with Doc, as the Marines call the medics, when an insurgent's rocket-propelled grenade exploded on the rooftop, next to Lance Cpl. Gabrian.

    The shock wave left him with a concussion and hearing loss.

    He joined Lance Cpl. Koenig at the aid station, where the two friends embraced, their eyes welling.

    The men had served together in Afghanistan in 2008, and Lance Cpl. Koenig had survived two blasts from roadside bombs.

    "We've got each other's backs," Lance Cpl. Gabrian said, the explosion still ringing in his ears.

    Word of Lance Cpl. Koenig's close call spread quickly through the outpost, as he emerged from the shock of the experience and walked through the outpost with a Cheshire cat grin.

    "He's alive for a reason," Tim Coderre, a North Carolina narcotics detective working with the Marines as a consultant, told one of the men. "From a spiritual point of view, that doesn't happen by accident."

    Gunnery Sgt. Kevin Shelton, whose job is to keep the Marines stocked with food, water and gear, teased the lance corporal for failing to take care of his helmet.

    "I need that damaged-gear statement tonight," Gunnery Sgt. Shelton told Lance Cpl. Koenig. It was understood, however, that Lance Cpl. Koenig would be allowed to keep the helmet as a souvenir.

    Gunnery Sgt. Shelton, a 36-year-old veteran from Nashville, said he had never seen a Marine survive a direct shot to the head.

    But next to him was Cpl. Christopher Ahrens, who quietly mentioned that two bullets had grazed his helmet the day the Marines attacked Marjah. The same thing, he said, happened to him three times in firefights in Iraq.

    Cpl. Ahrens, 26, from Havre de Grace, Md., lifted the camouflaged cloth cover on his helmet, exposing the holes where the bullets had entered and exited.

    He turned it over to display the picture card tucked inside, depicting Michael the Archangel stamping on Lucifer's head. "I don't need luck," he said.

    After his moment with Lance Cpl. Gabrian, Lance Cpl. Koenig put his dented helmet back on his head and climbed the metal ladder to resume his rooftop duty within an hour of being hit.

    "I know any one of these guys would do the same," he explained. "If they could keep going, they would."
    Amazing young man. Thank you!


    The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins. ― The Journals of Kierkegaard


  2. #2
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    ...After his moment with Lance Cpl. Gabrian, Lance Cpl. Koenig put his dented helmet back on his head and climbed the metal ladder to resume his rooftop duty within an hour of being hit.

    "I know any one of these guys would do the same," he explained. "If they could keep going, they would."


    True heros, all of them.
    The last Blood Moon Tetrad for this millennium starts in April 2014 and ends in September 2015...according to NASA.

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    Distinguished Member Array Rugergirl's Avatar
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    There aren't enough words to express my thanks to those who serve.
    I'll be sending this to my retired Marine neighbor
    Disclaimer: The posts made by this member are only the members opinion, not a reflection on anyone else, nor the group, and should not be cause for anyone to get their undergarments wedged in an uncomfortable position.

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    VIP Member Array searcher 45's Avatar
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    Thank God for a good helmet.

    God bless all our troops!!!!!!!
    NOT LIVING IN FEAR, JUST READY!!!
    I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness,
    nor the arrow for its swiftness,
    nor the warrior for his glory.
    I love only that which they defend.
    -J.R.R. Tolkien

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    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    That's the mentality that many soldiers from other countries often say they see in American troops, and walk away amazed. Good job... glad he's still with us and that someone is watching over our troops.

    Stay safe guys and keep your head down.

  6. #6
    Distinguished Member Array tiwee's Avatar
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    I will be glad when we prevail and these fine young service members can be home again.

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    VIP Member Array rottkeeper's Avatar
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    I hope his luck holds out for the rest of his tour.
    For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the son of man be. Mathew 24:27

    NRA Member

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    VIP Member Array boricua's Avatar
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    He needs to play the powerball. Good job, troop and thank God for kevlar.
    Duty, Honor, Country...MEDIC!!!
    ¡Cuánto duele crecer, cuan hondo es el dolor de alzarse en puntillas y observar con temblores de angustia, esa cosa tremenda, que es la vida del hombre! - René Marqués

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    Member Array seanhodges's Avatar
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    God certainly had his hand on his shoulder! He and his family is very lucky.

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    VIP Member Array Tom G's Avatar
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    This was a case of fantastic luck and a good helmet I'm glad the guy walked away from it. These guys are real heroes.

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    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    Luck has nothing to do with it. His work on earth is not finished.
    Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around laws. Plato

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array Snowman23's Avatar
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    Thumbs up to the helmet manufacturer!

    Hell of a story to tell his kids in the future.

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