When Sgt. Roger Daniels was shot in the head by a large caliber machine gun during a firefight in Afghanistan, his helmet protected him in a way no one expected. And now the Army is studying Daniels' helmet to understand how it protected him and to use that in new helmet designs.
Daniels' close call came when he and his fellow soldiers were ambushed last summer.
"Turned my head to look south, and when I turned it back I got hit," he says. "I knew right away I'd been hit in the head."
He says the only reason he's still alive, is because his helmet went beyond the call of duty.
"From what I know, they're supposed to be for smaller caliber or shrapnel, but I mean, I guess I just got lucky," says Daniels.
Instead of going through the helmet, the bullet actually went around his head and rattled around a bit.
For the past year the Army has been studying the one-in-a-million shot, to make future helmets protect soldiers in the same way.
"It defeated a threat that is was not supposed to defeat, and we wanted to see how this round actually came through, came around the back side and came out," says Master Sgt. Benjamin Owens.
In a ceremony on Friday, Sgt. Daniels was reunited with the equipment that saved his life.
After the attack Daniels suffered a concussion and a needed a few stitches, but it wasn't too long after that, he was back in action.
"I never thought it would save my life - and then it did," he says.
And maybe the lives of future soldiers as well.
The helmet has now been returned to Sgt. Daniels. He says he will keep the helmet that saved his life where he can see it every day.