WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. - A soldier from the 2nd Engineer Battalion received a unique token of his career Jan. 24 when he was presented with the armored plate that stopped a bullet and saved his life during his last deployment to Afghanistan.
In a small ceremony with the 595th Sapper Company, members of the Army's Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier presented Sgt. Thomas Dacey with the armored plate he was wearing during a battle July 4, 2013.
While conducting an operation to clear a known enemy compound in Farah province, Afghanistan, Dacey's platoon came under attack from insurgent forces. After fighting several hours in the compound, Dacey's squad pushed forward and breached a wall.
Upon conducting the breach, Dacey stood up to get a head count of his soldiers and was shot. The bullet pierced his rifle's scope spraying him with debris.
"My arm was burning because I had a couple (scope) fragments in my arm, and then I looked down and realized I'd been shot," Dacey said.
Dacey ducked around a corner, and seeing the bullet had been stopped by his armor was able to shrug off the hit and continued to fight through the rest of the battle.
"I always trusted my equipment and made sure that I always wore it the right way, but this just proves that it works," Dacey said.
PEO Soldier, the organization responsible for acquisition and sustainment of most common soldier gear, including everything from armor, to scopes and laser sights, presented the damaged armor plate to Dacey to commemorate his actions during the battle.
"I'm very proud of (Dacey) for being out there. You know he was engaged with the enemy in close combat at less than 70 feet away. ... We're happy his equipment worked for him," said Sgt. Maj. Doug Maddi form PEO Soldier.
PEO Soldier conducts extensive testing, some conducted on WSMR, of soldier systems and equipment to ensure they are battle ready when given to the soldier.