FORT BELVOIR, Va. (ABC7) — Army Staff Sgt. Steven “Bryan” McQueen has come inches from death.
“It was a hard thing to deal with,” the staff sergeant described.
McQueen is alive because he was wearing his military helmet last September during a firefight in Afghanistan. The protective gear stopped a rifle round fired from terrorists posing as Afghani Police Officers.
Since the shooting, the military has been studying the way the helmet’s materials reacted with the round and using that intelligence to improve better protect soldiers.
“Staff Sergeant McQueen is sitting here today and that validates why we do what we do,” Brig. Gen. Anthony Potts said.
McQueen reunited with his helmet Monday afternoon at a ceremony at Fort Belvoir.
“To see the helmet and [the round] went layer after layer and he’s still here—so yeah, I was in shock,” Arron said.
McQueen’s wife, Aaron, understands how close she came from losing her husband, but their three young children do not.
“I don’t really understand how to explain it to them other than them looking at that [helmet] periodically and telling them the story, ‘Yeah, this is the dad daddy came close,” McQueen said.
The helmet was not always the most comfortable. McQueen admits he complained about how bulky and heavy it was.
“I was sorely mistaken. This helmet works and I am a living testament to it,” McQueen said.