EXCLUSIVE: Schofield soldier describes firefight that nearly kil - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

EXCLUSIVE: Schofield soldier describes firefight that nearly killed him

(Image source:  Afghanistan Combat Footage - Funker530/YouTube) (Image source: Afghanistan Combat Footage - Funker530/YouTube)
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Four years after Schofield Barracks Sgt. Joseph McKenzie took a bullet to his helmet, he's getting the equipment that saved his life back.

McKenzie said the military took the helmet in 2011 to analyze it, and he's now getting it back, on a plaque, with the bullet still inside.

Dramatic video shows the firefight with Taliban soliders in Afghanistan in which McKenzie was shot in the head. At the time, McKenzie was a member of the 101st Airborne Division.

In the video, taken with a fellow soldier's GoPro, McKenzie's can be seen reacting to getting hit in the head. He holds up helmet, which still has the bullet lodged inside.

"I was bent down and it hit me and I just stood up. Basically it felt like getting ... I guess you could say getting punched," McKenzie told Hawaii News Now.

McKenzie said he was disoriented for a few seconds and was in severe pain.

Fragments from the helmet hit McKenzie just below his right eye, and blood streamed down his face. Another fragment hit him in the shoulder.

"You're good, you're bleeding a lot because your face is vascular," an army medic can be heard telling McKenzie in the video.

McKenzie had to wait 12 more hours before getting off the mountain.

He said there were other soldiers who had more serious injuries, so he waited. 

McKenzie still has a few scars from that day. One is on his shoulder. Under his right eye, where the fragments hit, the skin has turned a shade of blue.

Occasionally, McKenzie notices temporary changes in his vision in that eye, but other than that he says he has no lasting effects.

McKenzie said getting the helmet back after all these years is "pretty intense."

He says he plans on framing it and leaving it in his office at Schofield to remind himself of how lucky he was that day.

"It's a cool souvenir, I guess."

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