ANDOVER - An Andover man serving in Iraq credits divine intervention for saving his life after getting shot this past Wednesday.
Army Pfc. Brendan Schweigart, 22, was recovering a broken-down tank in Rustamiyah, Iraq, when a sniper shot him, his mother Kim Scott of Andover said Monday.
"The sniper shot him in the back of his left arm, it went through his arm and chest and when (the bullet) came out, it became lodged in a Bible he was carrying," she said.
The bullet from the high-powered rifle would have likely ricocheted off his protective armor and re-entered his chest had it not been stopped by the small Army-issue Bible in his pocket, she added. None of his internal organs were hit by the bullet.
"He carries the Bible with him everywhere, I guess," Mrs. Scott said. "He went to church with his grandparents when he was younger and believes in God. I guess having his faith helps him to believe everything will be OK."
When she received the call from him about getting shot, she said, "I knew something was up from the tone of his voice. Then he told me to sit down."
It was not the first time Mrs. Scott had received bad news from a family member in Iraq. Her brother, Robert Harding of Wisconsin, lost an elbow when a road-side bomb exploded near him while he was in Iraq a few years ago.
Pfc. Schweigart would often call his mother before going out on a mission and call again when he returned. He told his mother getting shot in the arm felt like he had been "hit by a sledgehammer."
He is expected to fully recover as the injury is considered superficial, Mrs. Scott said. He will perform light duty until his injury has healed.
Pfc. Schweigart recovers broken-down vehicles in Iraq for U.S. forces.
He is a 2005 graduate of Andover Central School and the son of Clark Schweigart and Kim and Steve Scott.
He enlisted in the Army in 2006 and has 1 1/2 years of service left.
Mrs. Scott said her son initially said he wanted to re-enlist, but is reconsidering that decision following his close call.
As for the Bible issued to him in boot camp, he has to sign a lot of paperwork just to keep it, Mrs. Scott said.
"The Army now considers it a war souvenir," she said.