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The 7.62mm round slammed into his helmet, about two inches above his left eye, but infantryman Spc. Marcos Fernandes kept fighting, laying down covering fire as his platoon engaged enemy forces in eastern Afghanistan earlier this year.

“I thought my brains were in the back of my helmet,” Fernandes said in an Army news story.

The confrontation occurred on April 15, as Fernandes’ unit was assigned to support an Afghan National Army security patrol. The Army recognized Fernandes’ heroism on Aug. 1 when Maj. Gen. James McConville pinned a Purple Heart and Army Commendation Medal with valor device on his combat uniform.

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