WSJ: ‘U.S. Marine Walks Away From Shot to Helmet in Afghanistan’

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.”

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

Note to President Obama: That last word is pronounced CORE-man, not CORPSE-man.

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.

Absolutely remarkable.  Nothing to add, except for heartfelt thanks and appreciation for everything Lance Cpl. Koenig and all of our fighting men and women are doing overseas.  Let’s get them home soon, huh?



  1. William A. Rose says:

    Sempre Fi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Gail B. says:

    Thank You, Lord, and may You continue to watch over our heroes!

  3. Stella Barbut says:

    I am sure the President knows that a corpse is a dead body. Did he deliberately mispronounce corpsman ?

  4. Anonymous says:

    In states 51 – 57 it is pronounced corpseman.

  5. twocanpete says:

    After the first soldier was shot why did the the other soldier have to stick around and wait for the grenade? Wasn’t it obivious that their location had become known to the enemy and they were in mortal danger or is this what the brass is ordering our troops to do as standard operating procedure?

  6. carter says:

    I’m glad for Koenig’s good fortune but it appears he ranged beyond his abilities. Where was his spotter? Where was his support team? Why did he expose himself to sniper fire? Did his sniper training cover counter-sniping techniques? Did he made sure the dude who reached out and touched him was killed? With insignificant wounds why did he not command a retalitory strike?


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