eTrex Legend Took a Bullet for this Marine – Lake Mohave

The following is an edited version of a letter sent to Garmin®, dated May 22, 2003.

I would like to relate to you a story of my son and your Garmin eTrex Legend. Chris is a Lance Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps. Prior to Christmas, he requested a GPS unit. We went to Circuit City in Poughkeepsie, NY to look for one. Because he is in an infantry unit, we decided to get him a small, light GPS unit. We picked the Garmin eTrex Legend. During the first week of January, his unit was sent to Kuwait by Navy ship. He took his GPS with him because of its reliability and ease of use. Anytime he took it out of his pocket, a crowd formed to get an idea of where they were located.
In a letter dated March 17 (the day the war started), Chris said his unit was to go into Iraq and capture and hold two bridges. He added that they would have tank support from the Army and Marine Corps as well as artillery support. He ended by saying it should be easy. The name of the town was An Nasiriyah. Because he liked the GPS so much, he took it with him. This was not an easy decision. As an Infantryman, he has to be very selective of what he is going to carry. As it turns out, this decision may have saved his life.

Nasiriyah became the major battle with the war against Saddam Hussein’s regime. His was the unit that lost 10 Marines due to an ambush by surrendering Fedayeen fighters. During this battle, he was in a group walking through the streets of Nasiriyah. While walking, he felt his pants pocket jerk across his body. He turned and fired. He ranked as an expert with his rifle. He hit what he aimed at, stopping the ambush on his group. Had he not known what direction the bullet came from, the shooter would have had time to continue to fire at them. The bullet hit the GPS unit that was in his pocket, and the travel of the GPS indicated which direction the bullet came from. He also said the GPS might have deflected the bullet from nicking him.

The bullet did tear a hole in his pocket and destroyed the GPS unit. I feel that by the grace of God, he had that unit in his pocket when he was shot at. Although the GPS unit was destroyed, its last conveyance of information to my son was data that your engineers did not design into the Legend. Not only do I thank your company for making a product that my son liked so much, but I also thank you for supplying the tool that very well may have saved his life.

J.N. – Lake Mohave

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