PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Sgt. Tim Gilboe is truly a hero. After seeing one of his friends die and after being shot himself, he carried on, fighting the enemy and leading his squad to safety. On Friday, the Veterans of Foreign War honored one of their own. Sgt. Gilboe is now in possession of the thing that saved his life, the piece of body armor he was wearing in Afghanistan three years ago. The armor was turned over to Gilboe during a special ceremony.
"It did absorb the blast it went in and it came up real hard and hit the bottom of my Chin but it definitely does it's job", Gilboe said.
It is etched permanently in Tim Gilboe's mind. They day he got shot. It's also the day he lost a good friend.
Gillboe was serving in Afghanistan as an Army Infantry man when his squad came under mortar attack by the Taliban. The squad tracked the attackers to a storefront. Squad leader Matt Hermanson died in the combat. Gilboe was shot at close range.
"If it like a really good punch to the gut, but it's better than the alternative. Caught a little shrapnel in the leg but it was minimal, very minimal", Gilboe said.
Gilboe survived and took charge of the squad fighting the enemy and caring for the wounded. He was awarded the Silver Star for his actions, the second highest medal for bravery. He says it's really Matt Hermanson's medal.
Before the military turns equipment over to soldiers they are analyzed and tested to see how they performed during combat. In this case Sgt. Gilboe's armor performed quite well.