After five years and a plea by a wounded warrior that made its way through Army bureaucracy and the ranks of the Pentagon, an East Tennessee soldier won the fight to get his service weapon back from the military.
“This whole thing is like a miracle,” said retired Army Capt. Michael Trost holding a Beretta 92F with a bullet hole through the handle of the semi-automatic pistol.
“…amazed it took a bullet for me,” Trost said.
Back in 2012 on a mission in Afghanistan, Trost had his Army-issue sidearm holstered in his waist resting against his back. Out of nowhere an Afghan soldier, trained by American troops, turned rouge and suddenly opened fire on Trost and others in his unit.
“Have five or seven bullets go through you, around you, near you, this probably would have been the eighth bullet right here,” said Trost pointing to the sidearm he credits with deflecting one bullet away from his spine.
The attack cost the combat veteran part of his hand, and later the amputation of his leg, but he is certain that sidearm helped save his life.
“It’s like your buddy to the left and to your right, this is like my buddy ‘cause he took a round for me,” said Trost with a smile holding his battered gun with an entry and exit wound of twisted metal.
It took a letter to the Army expressing a narrative of his story for Trost to receive an exception for "sentimental reasons" from the military to win back his service weapon.
When the Army wanted to charge him for it, friends within his unit picked up the bill for a gun that is now impossible to fire with the slide and hammer welded shut.
"It’s a reminder of you’re lucky to be alive guy, and you better live each day to its fullest because like that, it can be taken away from you and that’s what it means to me," said Trost who plans one day to mount the pistol on a wall in his Maryville home.