Soldier reunited with helmet that saved his life in Afghanistan

Posted at 2:06 PM, Dec 19, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-19 14:19:06-05

It’s not just a helmet.

It’s the helmet that saved a an Oregon soldier’s life.

Four years after the attack, he was reunited with that helmet.

“Being on a rooftop and then waking up in Maryland.”

That is all Sgt. Ryan Craig from Prineville, Oregon remembers of the day he got shot in the head. Today he was reunited with the helmet that saved his life.

“As you can see it stopped the bullet.”

In 2010 Craig’s unit was patrolling one of the most volatile regions in Afghanistan when they were attacked by the Taliban. Doug Maddi was his Sgt. Major that day when he heard about the attack.

“Gunshot wound to the head, life expectancy unknown, you begin planning for the worst.”

With life-threatening injuries Craig was immediately transported to a hospital.

“It was like 5:30 in the morning and you get a call that your son’s been injured and as a mother you kinda already kind of feel that there’s something is wrong,” said his mother Jennifer Miller. “Gratitude that he’s still here.”

Craig underwent numerous brain surgeries, but thanks to his helmet – and his brothers in the field – he is still alive.

It’s a piece of equipment that means so much more.

“It’s a great honor and for me, with my guy, it’s the greatest thing that I’ve done in the Army today,” said Maddi

Craig’s helmet was not designed to stop bullets.

“Head protection continues to evolve,” said Barry Hauck, Deputy Product Manager of Soldier Protection Equipment

His helmet was sent to the government where it was scanned and studied. The results help officials to improve on gear in the future.

“Today every soldier that deploys into combat has a helmet that is rated to stop rifle rounds. Part of that effort is because of Ryan,” said Maddi

Craig says he has a perfect spot for the helmet in his home – right next to his purple heart.