Luckiest man in Iraq
By Matt Sun
March 28, 2003
THIS is the luckiest man in Iraq - a British commando who cheated death despite being shot four times in the head during a raging battle.
Royal Marine Eric Walderman was hit by a volley of bullets while fighting Iraqi soldiers at Umm Qasr, southern Iraq.
The bullets hit Pte Walderman's Kevlar helmet just above his eye, tearing the camouflage lining and ricocheting away.
If a round had struck a 1cm lower, he would have been killed.
Pte Walderman was shaken but otherwise unscathed when he returned to base with his Alpha company 40 Commando unit afterwards.
Because the troops are not allowed direct contact with their families, Walderman asked a wounded colleague being evacuated back to the UK to phone his girlfriend Lindsey Robinson in Fleetwood, Lancashire.
She was shocked to hear he had been hit but pleased he was alive.
Lindsey told London's The Sun newspaper Pte Walderman was lucky.
"I can't believe it. I want to hug him. He always seems to come out on top – but I don't want to think about what could have happened," the 25-year-old said.
"He is so lucky to be alive, he's the luckiest man out there."
The couple have been together for eight years and are parents to two-year-old son Danny.
Pte Walderman's 47-year-old mum, Brenda, was also relieved.
"I am shocked, but at the same time feel lucky," she said.
Pte Walderman, a welder, joined the Marines three years ago.
He completed the intense 30-week training course in March 2000 with flying colours, receiving the Commando Medal for being "an outstanding new recruit".
The 690-strong 40 Commando unit left England for the Gulf in January to conduct training exercises and has been fighting since the first shots of the war were fired last week.
The helmet worn by Pte Walderman is similar to the Personnel Armor System Ground Troops helmet used by US soldiers.
The Kevlar lined PASGT helmets are up to 40 per cent more resistant to fragments than the old style "steel pot" protective head gear.
Costing about $500 each, tests show 50 per cent of projectiles are stopped while the other half penetrate the kevlar.
While the helmets do increase the chances of surviving a bullet, their primary purpose is to protect the head against blunt trauma.
Discovered by scientist Stephanie Kwolek in 1965, Kevlar is a super-strong fibre made from liquid crystalline.
Type II helmets are lined with 24 layers of Kevlar and can stop a 9mm round traveling at 358 m/ps.
The Daily Telegraph
After Desert Storm I read a report on the effectiveness of those nifty kevlar helmets. Of all head shots sustained, none had pased through the helmet; they had all come through unprotected areas. Those helmets are so nifty.
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