PEO Soldier Presents – More Than A Momento

Fort Belvoir, Virginia (Feb. 23, 2017) – Program Executive Office Soldier’s Project Manager Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment (PM SPIE) seeks to return life-saving personal protective equipment to Soldiers.

The program has been successful, not so much for its outreach, but for the closure it brings the recipients who are reunited with the equipment that saved their lives, according to Project Manager COL Dean Hoffman, who said the program has a lasting impact.

“These are more than mementos, and the recipients we return this equipment to are living testimonials that our stuff works,” Colonel Hoffman said Feb. 23.

The most recent recipient of an armored plate return was a Soldier from one of our elite forces whose name and unit cannot be published.


The colonel oversees PM SPIE at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. He noted there are several partners in the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Lifecycle Team who deserve credit and makes a day like this possible.

“The scientist, the engineers, research labs, acquisition personnel and countless people down the line just doing their job play a key role in making these moments happen,” Colonel Hoffman said.

The most recent recipient of an armored plate return, said that when faced with almost certain death all Soldiers can rely on is their training and their equipment.

The Soldier told his story. It was March 2007, and Soldiers were on a night mission in Iraq. It was dark and the young Sergeant, a squad leader took the initiative and kicked down a door, as part of clearing procedures.

“When I kicked in the door there was a guy with an AK-47 maybe eight to 10 feet in front of me, and he just opened fire,” the Soldier said. “The impact knocked me to the ground. With only muzzle fire as a reference, I kept firing.

“When the shooting had stopped I realized the attacker was deceased, and I thought I was dying as well because I took so many rounds,” the Soldier said. “When the medics arrived and ripped everything open I was bruised on the chest but that was about it.” That night’s actions led to the Soldier being awarded the Silver Star.

Stories like this are common within the PPE Return program. Many Soldiers complain about wearing the armor because of the weight. After an incident where it saves their life, they become an instant advocate.

“I’ve always been taught to not profile yourself when entering a room but to present the body armor,” the Soldier said. “I teach younger Soldiers that today. It worked once; it will work again.”

PEO Soldier’s PPE Return program helps bring closure to Soldiers who faced down their fears. It also instills confidence in that the equipment they deploy with is up to the task.

5 Responses to “PEO Soldier Presents – More Than A Momento”

  1. JKifer says:

    right on brother!… get this man a keep calm and return fire Morale Patch (ya I said it)..cant think of a better example..

  2. FJM says:

    After action report meets equipment. Great reporting Soldier Systems

  3. mudd says:

    The incident was 10 years ago?

    • some other joe says:

      Yep. Between return of the equipment to PEO, time to analyze the plate’s defeat of the round(s), and this guy being so secret squirrel that SSD won’t use his name, I can understand why it took PEO so long to get it back to him.

      It had nothing to do with a buried file and three PCS’s of action officers since the guy four back received the item. Nope, no chance of that. 😉

  4. Craig Stevens says:

    I had a soldier, about a month after the incident in the original post, was pulling Tower Duty at FOB Rusty, had a round go through the 3″ thick ballistic glass of the tower, through his helmet, clip the top of his ear, and continue on out the back of the helmet. I figure it was a 7.62x54R AP round as the nearest building the shooter could have been in was around 600 meters away. Crazy stuff.