Much like back home where a seat belt or a motorcycle helmet can be the difference between life and death, Capt. David Golden credits his personal protective gear for saving his life during an enemy attack in Afghanistan.

"If it wasn't for my personal protective gear and training, I'm not sure I'd be here today, and I certainly wouldn't be here with my full eyesight," he said.

That's because the shrapnel from a rocket explosion hit his ballistic eyewear, shattering the glasses but saving his left eye.

"Our flight surgeon said I surely would have lost my eye and probably worse if not for the eyewear," Golden said. "I also think all my body armor and my helmet helped me survive the blast just 8 feet away.

"It may seem a simple thing, but it's a pain to wear your PPE all the time," he said. "I was just walking to the latrine that day, and it would have been easy to forget my glasses, or just get complacent and not wear them. Thankfully, I didn't do that."

His reward? Focusing his eyes on his beautiful baby girl for the first time only a month later.

-- Tim Barela