One morning, airmen from the 83rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron received a report of a Fallen Angel. The term for a downed aircraft.
An Army helicopter had crashed into a mountainside and it was in a hostile Afghan area.
Within ten minutes of being notified, two Pave Hawk helicopters were en route to the crash site.
The rescue helicopters received air support from F-15E Strike Eagle fighters and Apache attack helicopters.
The pararescuemen were inserted near the crash site where they found one deceased pilot and recovered one injured pilot.
While recovering the deceased pilot, the rescue helicopter came under fire and the flight engineer was hit by enemy fire.
The decision was made that the rescue helicopter was no longer mission capable.
The helicopters returned to Bagram Airfield to get care for the injured engineer. They also picked up another engineer.
Sgt. Heath Culbertson was sleeping when he was woken up by frantic knocking on his door.
Within four minutes, Heath was on the helicopter to replace the wounded engineer, and they were headed back to the crash site.
When the helicopter arrived at the site Heath could hear gunfire:
“I heard whistling by my head,” he said. “But I thought to myself, ‘That can’t be. I’ve got my helmet on. There’s no way I’m hearing the hisses.”
“Next thing I know, I get thrown on my console,” he said.
“I still didn’t know what was going on at that point. But from this vantage point, I could see under my gun, and I could see the muzzle flashes. I remember shaking my head to clear it, and then just rage of fury came over me.”
Heath realized a bullet had entered his helmet on the right side of his head. It had gone through his visor and exited the side of his helmet.
Heath remembers the entire event in slow motion, but it all happened in a matter of seconds.
After about five hours of intense fighting, the helicopter crews were able to remove the injured and deceased pilots, and return to base.
Thankfully, the tactical helmet Heath was wearing that day saved his life.
Now, there is no question that a helmet can prove indispensable in a survival situation.
If you think about it, many people already wear helmets for protection in their daily lives (construction workers, bicyclists, skiers, motorcyclists, baseball players, etc.).
More than that, during a natural disaster, a helmet could help protect you from flying debris during a hurricane or tornado.
In addition, there could be dangerous social unrest where a ballistic helmet could keep you safe.
So, should a helmet should be part of your gear?
Here are a few things to consider when making your decision…
Tactical helmets are typically broken down into two categories: bump helmets and ballistic helmets.
Bump helmets are designed to protect you from forceful impact. This includes falling debris and shrapnel.
Most bump helmets can have a light attached to the top and are perfect for search and rescue personnel.
They are mainly meant for natural disaster situations, there is no ballistic protection. So, bump helmets are not going to protect you from gunfire.
The advantages of a bump helmet are comfort, and weight, plus they are a lot cheaper compared to other types of helmets.
If you are looking for a bump helmet you can check out the Lancer Tactical Bump Helmet. This helmet doesn’t offer ballistic protection.
The helmet has dovetail accessory rails on each side and a front mount for optics or a camera.
It also has bungee straps for attaching lightweight hook-sided devices like battery packs.
Another option to consider are bump helmets from Team Wendy. These are quality helmets but more expensive.
If gunfire is a major concern, then you should go with a ballistic helmet.
Most ballistic helmets can withstand pistol-caliber rounds. These helmets have different levels of protection that are tested by the National Institute of Justice.
Also, many ballistic helmets can attach night vision.
A ballistic helmet would be useful during a home invasion scenario, social unrest, or any survival situation where you may encounter gunfire.
You understand that ballistic helmets are considerably more expensive than bump helmets.
So, if you are looking for a ballistic helmet, check out Hard Head Veterans ATE.
The company is veteran-owned and operated, and their products go through intense testing.
The ballistic helmet is level IIIA. It can be found with an above-the-ear or high-cut design. The helmet shell is made from para-aramid fibers. It weighs 3 lbs.
Now, there’s no doubt that a bump or ballistic helmet can help you survive dangers that might come your way, and it can be an advantage to have one…
Use these tips to help you decide whether to add a helmet to your survival kit.