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WP: Breaking News - U.S. Marines launch major offensive in Afghanistan

Mark The Homer

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U.S. Marine Walks Away from Head Shot in Afghanistan


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.

The young Marine had already survived two roadside bomb blasts in a 2008 tour of the country:

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."

Minutes later, while Koenig was being treated for what ended up being a thumb-sized welt on his forehead left by the bullet, Gabrian walked away from an RPG blast with only a concussion.

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Double wow


BADULA QULP, Afghanistan -- "Medic!" Bullets cracked through the dry grass. "Medic!"

"Who's hit?" someone yelled. The American soldiers were pinned down in a ditch yesterday, bodies prone in the mud.

"I don't know!" another voice shouted in the din of gunfire.

A US soldier was down, shot in the chest by an insurgent near the besieged Taliban stronghold of Marjah. A Canadian soldier in the same patrol took a bullet in the front of his helmet, right where the center of his forehead was, like a bull's-eye. He was stunned, but unhurt.

The firefight in the Badula Qulp region of Helmand province lasted about 45 minutes and tapered off after a Cobra helicopter shot a Hellfire missile into the building where the Taliban were believed hiding. Soldiers said they found the body of one suspected insurgent and heard another may have been buried quickly

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/international/caught_in_the_chaos_under_fire_in_qJNlSiuBitE4YhmdFtVIbO#ixzz0flG3uTV0

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