US soldier shot in Afghanistan saved by his iPhone

A US soldier with a unit in Eastern Afghanistan was shot in combat, and bled profusely, nearing death. Helicopters picked him up, medics inspected his injuries, cut off his clothes and looked through his pockets. They found his iPhone, with a bullet hole through it.

"They said that the iPhone probably changed the trajectory of the bullet, making the wound shallower in his flesh. The protective cover he had on his phone made it so the glass didn't shatter, making his wounds worse. He and his friends joked they should replace their body armor with iPads."

[KTVA Alaska via Jon Passantino]


  1. It’s almost as if bullets fired from a decent range at somewhat oblique angles are regularly at least somewhat deflected by somewhat solid objects kept in pockets.

    Lighters, books, canteens, decks of playing guards, packs of cigarettes, wallets, lockets, pocketwatches, MREs, eyeglass cases, radios, buckles, badges, skipping stones, and all other manner of curios have helped deflect or soften stray bullets.

    How is this news?

    Oh, right. It deals with 1) a tech gadget (yay consumerism!) and 2) an American soldier. If it had been an Afghani who was saved by a pocket Quran, it’d be just perfectly unremarkable, huh?

        1. Is there any particular reason to read things that don’t interest you and then complain about them?

          1. Yes, actually. I read this blog because it is ordinarily “relevant to my interests”, as the saying goes.

            By voicing my opinion that this sort of content is not up to the usual standards I believe BoingBoing sets for itself in terms of insightful and interesting content, I hope to perhaps convince the blog operators to shy away from banality and return to quality.

            If you have issue with the manner in which I am critiquing the content of this blog, please feel free to comment on that in particular. You are an Administator, after all, your job does entail preventing or curtailing abusive behavior.

            But if you’re simply annoyed at me for having the audicity to comment negatively about the blog’s content, in effect telling me to either shut up and like it or simply go elsewhere, I can only express darkly amused perplexion.

            Single me out for improper behavior if I show it, please. Rebuke me for any abusive and unacceptable interactions with the blog operators or other readers that I may be guilty of. But please do not badger me with your sarcasm and passive aggresive backhanded rhetoric merely for speaking critically of one small segment of BoingBoing’s content.

          2. What I find especially amusing in your complaint is that bb regularly features all manner of things which some people could genuinely consider banal, but are nevertheless interesting enough to someone to be posted, even if that “someone” is the blogger themselves. Banality is highly subjective, and the notion that your opinion of banality applies to everyone else is laughable, at best.

            But I think there’s something more insidious behind your complaint. I’m nearly certain of it, in fact. That you’ve picked this specific article to complain about is curious. If I had to guess (and I’m going to), my guess would be that your complaint was driven more by the specific subject matter, rather than the general banality of it. Indeed, I think it’s likely that “banality” is just a cover for the fact that you don’t like the specific brand of phone at the heart of the story. There are no shortage of haters circulating on the internet, after all, so I’m going to play the odds that you’re one of them.

            The alternative explanation — that you just like to complain, and have nothing better to do than harass bb staff — is arguably even less flattering.

        2. Is there any particular reason to blog about banality?

          There are literally untold hundreds of millions of blogs on the internet today. If you feel compelled to complain about posts you find banal then you must be a very busy person.

          Me, I prefer the “just don’t read or comment on stuff I find uninteresting” approach. But to each his own.

    1. i, for one, think that the cases of bibles deflecting bullets toward the heart are woefully unrepresented in the popular media.

        1.  In Soviet Russia, brave Soldier saves Chinese knockoff smart from from being shot by holding AK-47 in parade position while advancing

    1. And a paper copy of his speech! We should armor soldiers with political speeches – that’d save lives.

      1. I’m currently working for a think tank tasked with developing the ultimate armor for soldiers. We’ve recently had a major breakthrough which could save untold numbers of lives.

        We’re calling it “Peace”.

      1. And a pretty impressive layer of muscle protecting his vitals. I like to picture him angrily flexing out that bullet with enough force to hit his would-be assassin in the forehead.

  2. Wow, that’s a peach of a dangling participle there, Xeni.  

    “The protective cover he had on his phone made it so the glass didn’t shatter, making his wounds worse.”

    I mean that in the best way.  That’s one heck of an unpack.  The fact that it didn’t shatter can be seen as what made his wounds worse, so you’ve got the confirmation of a negative doing the opposite.  It’s like the prettiest accidental knot ever.
    — Aaand I just saw that it’s from the source piece. Credit where credit is due. :)

  3. “It would have just been a flesh wound but the *insert device/holy book here* deflected it upwards and took the top of his head off.” Miraculous stories you never hear.

      1. Well, as the owner of a Galaxy Note 10.1, if the phones are as cheaply made of plastic vs. the metal in the iProducts I’d choose the metal phone for even the tiniest of advantage when it comes to bullets. My Note was slightly cheaper than an iPad and it has a stylus, but I’ve found that the stylus is hardly used by any software so that negates any advantage, and the build quality of the hardware just isn’t what Apple is putting out. 

    1. Nah, he signed up for the meat grinder, he stays until the military gets its pound of flesh, one way or another. Pity the exchange rate from foreign flesh is so poor, though.

      1. Jesus, man. You really hate the military, don’t you? It’s nice to  see someone swinging their ideological dick on a website like it means something. 

        Once more with feeling: the grunts don’t get to choose the moral conflicts. They sign up because it’s the best life option they have, or they wanna, or whatever. 

        1. If your moral compass tells you it’s okay to seek financial success or even solvancy by helping to kill other humans simply because they happen to not belong to your particular tribe, you’ve probably got bigger problems than having to listen to the “bleeding hearts” comment unfavorably about the brutality of war. Anyone who willingly signs up for killing people in exchange for money deserves everything they have coming – both their mistreatement by the military itself, and my terrible, terrible commentary about it.

          I’m not the one forcing wounded soldiers to return to the field. I’m not the one dropping bombs, or even merely calling in the strikes. I’m not the one declaring war, or making it. I’m not the one recruiting ignorant kids too young to understand the world, breaking them down, stripping them of their individuality and humanity, putting a gun in their hands, and telling them that their country is proud of them for killing and dying in the name of political expediency. I’m not the one clearing them to return to duty after the bare minimum of time required to physically rehabilitate them, without respect for the agonizingly long process of mental hehabilitation. I’m not the one who sends them back to slog through ruined cities, scorching deserts, forsaken mountains, and wasted battlegrounds after they’ve already been shot full of holes and riddled with shrapnel. I’m not the one leaving countless young men and women feeling lost and confused and violently out of control trying to return to normal life despite their nightmares, flashbacks, creeping paranoia, and all the rest.

          You’re right, I have distaste for any military. But given the things that militaries do to people, I can’t understand how you or anyone else can manage to have the love for them that you seem to display.

          1. Anger doesn’t make you a good person, which is unfortunate because you seem to rely on that for self esteem.

        2.  I was watching a George Carlin interview where he’s asked about his opinions on war and he said he blames the soldiers.  And he clarified that sure, it’s the politicians and rulers who start the wars but the soldiers keep showing up and shooting each other.

          It’s an interesting take.  Of course the grunts get to choose their moral conflicts.  Unless you’re a conscript, but even then you still have a choice.  You can desert and even if you don’t desert it’s still your choice whether you actually aim a gun at anyone and pull the trigger.

  4. I suppose it wouldn’t be as American-news-consumption-worthy if it had been a Huawei phone or perhaps just a dildo? Fucking rah-rah. Maybe the soldiers should joke about using iPads to shield schoolchildren. Warzone and sentimental passive advertising do not and should not mix.

  5. Nice story but there is no way in hell the iPhoine did anything.  It’s basically paper thin aluminum and glass. 

  6. That’s very good, but I better not ever see a soldier in combat with his eyes darting back and forth between Skype and his weapon sight.

  7. “He and his friends joked they should replace their body armor with iPads.” 

    Certainly more widely available and probably cheaper.

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