You’re looking at the damage caused by a ball-bearing as it struck the iPhone in a soldier’s pocket after a bomb was detonated by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan, reports KSL.

Staff Sgt. Shaun Frank survived a blast from just feet away. Part of the reason is because his iPhone stopped some of the shrapnel from piercing his body.

“They did tell him when he got back to base that that iPhone probably saved his life,” said Frank’s sister, Alisha Lantz.

Given that the phone was in his pants pocket at the time, I did wonder whether saving his life might have been an exaggeration, but writing in the comments below Sgt. Frank said:

I can confirm that the iPhone did in fact save my life by saving my artery! Lucky or just someone watching down on me from above, either way I am making the most of my time left on this earth as you never know when your time is up.

The phone was destroyed in the explosion. Apple said the company will replace it, but they would need to retain the destroyed phone. Frank chose to have the phone returned as a memento, and his sister, Alisha Lantz, is now appealing to Apple to send him a new one.

“Beausee the old phone meant so much to him, we chose to get the old phone,” Lantz explained.

It’s been months now, and Frank is still in Afghanistan without a phone. His family in Utah is doing everything they can to get him a new one.

“He needs a new iPhone. Apple, please give him a new iPhone,” Lantz said. “I’m just so proud of him. He’s just… he’s my hero.”

Apple has declined to comment.

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35 Responses to “U.S. soldier says his iPhone helped save his life from a suicide bomber”

  1. Ryan Willden says:

    It is entirely possible it saved his live as your femoral artery is located where you would typically place a phone in your pocket. Severing a femoral artery could cause significant bleeding that would be difficult to stop in the field and could easily kill you. Don’t judge unless you know the details. ;)

  2. I can’t believe any self-respecting journalists ran this piece. Such a damn entitlement generation.

    • The attitude here is a bit harsh, but Israel Anderson has a point. Apple offered to replace it – which is pretty generous I think, because I doubt damage-by-IED is something that even Applecare covers. If he wants to keep a memento, though, and Apple would prefer to get the busted one back …well, make a decision. Keep it and buy a new one or give it up and get a new one for free.

      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        The offer to replace it was a nice gesture, I agree, but I can also understand why he wants the old one back. I would say in the circumstances it wouldn’t hurt Apple to agree – it’s not like the company will do anything with it.

      • This issue here is the precedent that Apple would let people get ‘two’ iPhones for the price of one. If I were Apple, willing to replace your IED damaged phone – which is certainly not covered by Applecare – and you were demanding both, I would think you’re being an entitled twat.

    • rettun1 says:

      You’ve been quite lively, as of late

    • I agree. No mention about the boy that was the suicide bonmber. Where did he come from? Did he have parents? How did he fall into being brainwashed to be a suicide bomber. A young boy whose life is no more, is a reflection of the religious zeal of the ‘enemy’. Instead the woman claps her hands “Apple please send us a new iPhone”. Another note, her brother could have bought another non-Apple phone for $50 and at least had something to call back home on.
      The world in this day and age = entitlement generation as you said.

  3. I think Apple doesn’t “just” want to give him a new iPhone because they want to approach each customer equally. When they would give him a new one, shouldn’t a handicapped boy who dropped his iPhone also get one for free? Or someone who almost drowned and had is phone in his pocket? Though I totally respect this guy for his honor and bravery, I do think Apple did the right thing. Besides, Apple probably isn’t making the call wether this is within his insurance or not. (warranty covers only factory malfunctions, right?)

  4. jrox16 says:

    He’s lucky he didn’t have a plastic Samsung Galaxy… ;-)

  5. 9to5mac, can you please get me in contact with the soldier’s family. I’ll donate my iPhone 5S.

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Richard, that’s extremely generous of you. We don’t have his contact details, but KSL does and they can be contacted via this page: http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=205

      • Sorry, but this is getting a little ridiculous now. Lots of people around the globe starving to death. Instead of donating an iPhone to a soldier that ALREADY was given the option to get a new one from Apple, donate some money to a charity instead. The soldier dosen’t need anything, nor his family.

      • Thank you ben, will do.

        Mr. Petersen, I already donate to charity. Are you aware the amount of a soldier’s salary? I call on you to put your money where your mouth is:
        https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org/default.aspx?tsid=926&campaignSource=WEBSITE&source=ONLINEM

      • Matt Smith says:

        Richard, with BAS and BAH he is pulling in 50k+ a year as an E-6. On top of that are the active duty differentials and other benefits. He isnt paying for health care, commissary and PX are subsidized etc. He can afford an iphone.
        This is a pretty lame publicity stunt. He thought that since it was an apple product that caught the BB and not his leg he would get some special consideration. Apple is fiercely egalitarian and not looking for combat related press, good or bad.

      • Richard, there is a difference between donating to people that made a choice to put their lives at risk and then there are people that are in risk without choice (such as starving kids in Africa)
        At least the soldier earns his money.
        Its your iPhone and you can do with it what you want, but giving it away where its not essential, that means you have more money than sense.
        Don’t forget, he was already given the option to get a new phone for free, but willingly declined it. That should tell you how much he really needs it.

  6. driverbenji says:

    “The phone was destroyed in the explosion. Apple said the company will replace it, but they would need to retain the destroyed phone. Frank chose to have the phone returned as a momento, and his sister, Alisha Lantz, is now appealing to Apple to send him a new one.”

    Perhaps you meant to write “…Frank chose to NOT have the phone returned as a momento…”? Otherwise this doesn’t make sense.

    ““Beausee the old phone meant so much to him, we chose to get the old phone,” Lantz explained.”

    …perhaps this should read…chose to “keep”? the old phone?

    Again, this doesn’t make sense.

    Perhaps this was published before proofreading. Either that or you need to turn OFF the grammar checker, not working right.

    In any case, the way things are worded, it doesn’t make sense. Apple said they would give him a new phone if he gives Apple the old one, as I understand this article. So, did he chose to keep the old phone? If so, then, why would Apple just give him a new phone? Because he’s in the military? Just because he wants to keep the old one because it possibly saved his life, doesn’t mean Apple should give him a new one. Perhaps the military could buy him a new phone. If he had a metal wallet in his pocket instead, should the wallet manufacturer give him a new one because the old one took a bullet? Ugh, let a lawyer explain it to these people…a bullet is not going to be covered under any warranty as if it was a defective item. And I don’t think going into the military automatically gives you special insurance. But, I do think the military could buy him a new iPhone.

  7. coolguyme says:

    “Given that the phone was in his pants pocket at the time, helping save his life may be an exaggeration, but it may well have saved him from a nasty injury.”

    Thank you very much for including this in the article. That’s what I was thinking through the video.

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      The point has been made above that slicing through the femoral artery can lead you to bleed to death pretty quickly, which I fully accept is a possibility, but probably less rather than more likely.

  8. He is a SSG in the Army who was deployed. I was making decent (tax free) money as a SPC out in Iraq, which is a couple of ranks lower, he can afford to buy a new phone if he wants to, just saying. Nice story about a phone saving your life, but stop using the military as a way to get something free.

  9. Hi guys, a friend sent me a link to this article by the awesome people at 9to5mac.
    I just wanted to stop by and say many thanks for running the article and I can confirm that the iPhone ‘DID’ intact save my life by saving my artery! Lucky or just someone watching down on me from above, either way I am making the most of my time left on this earth as you never know when your time is up

    Kindest Regards

    Shaun

    • herb02135go says:

      I blame the sister for making this guy look greedy.
      I agree that Apple made a nice offer. Where would it end? “I damaged my phone when I gave the Heimlich maneuver. Where’s my phone?”

      If “someone from above” was watching out then the guy wouldn’t have been hit and he’d be enjoying his old phone, which would still work.

      Someone tell me why we send Americans to the Middle East in the first place! Oh yes, cheap oil for China!

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Thanks for letting us know – I’ll update the story

  10. Just return the damaged one Einstein.

  11. Kevin Henry says:

    Does Apple owe SSG Frank a new iPhone, no. Obviously, I am glad that SSG Frank was not mortally wounded and has been able to return to duty. Many of you are correct that he does not deserve a free iPhone for serving his country. There is do standing policy or legal obligation for Apple to do so. Could Apple extend a curtesy to a Soldier serving this Nation that was wounded in a combat zone? Of course they could. Apple has delegated authorization to take extra ordinary measures to please customers down to retail store managers. If Apple wants to resolve this customer’s dilemma, they should just do it quietly.

    For those that want to say that Soldiers do not deserve any special treatment, I find that those with that opinion are those that choose not to serve and come from families without a tradition of service. You’re free to your opinion and your voice, because of the veterans that fight to protect your rights. I ask, do you believe that each of the elites attending the Oscars deserved a $85,000 swag bag? These people get paid six figures or more per film. Samsung gave its phones to Ellen to give to her audience on her show the next day. What did they do to deserve free phones? Take a day off from work and stand in line? And you say that SSG Frank is less deserving?

    Apple is being generous in offering to replace his iPhone; however, the that is typical corporate behavior when their items exceed expectations or fail (e.g., OPS Core – helmets that saved Soldiers’s lives when they were hit in the head, armor plate companies – for body armor that has taken hits). Often items like those are analyzed or displayed in the company’s lobby. Often Soldiers that survive near fatal incidents choose to retain items like these to remind them of their fortune and/or mortality. In my office, I keep a thick glass plate that saved me from being shot in the head by a 7.62x54mmR machine gun burst.

    SSG Frank made a choice (accepted risk) to carry a very expensive phone in a combat zone, and accepted the risk. Times have changed in my 23yrs of service; e.g., Desert Shield – standing in line for hours for your turn to use a special AT&T phone booth or snail mail, Operation Iraqi Freedom (early) AT&T call centers and email, Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan (circa 2013) mega-FOBs with WiFi and kids youtubing-tweeting-instagming-facetiming everything. The military higher ups have failed to address this early on, and now it is failing at putting the cork back in the bottle with all of the recent social media flubs.

    Fairly painful to read through these comments. Certainly, Ben’s intent of writing this story was not to stir up the typical discourse the plagues this Nation. I wish that we could have civil discussion and feel alright if someone other than ourselves benefits from the considerations of a $700 billion dollar company.

    And whomever was concerned about the suicide bomber and his family… Seriously
    Those bringing up that the military is already properly compensated… E-6s in the Army are not getting rich and the military is not paid by the hour.
    Starving kids in Africa? Sally Struthers called and wants her cause back… I do not think that they think too much about iPhones.

    • “Could Apple extend a curtesy to a Soldier serving this Nation that was wounded in a combat zone?”

      Just about anyone who has a job is serving their nation. A soldiers does, a janitor does, a doctor does. Stop with that condescending bullcrap. Free iPhones; maybe you’d like free beer with that?

      You said people who feel differently about you deserving free iPhones are free to do so thanks to your work. Let me ask you: when was the last time you fought for their (our) rights? Answer: never. The fact that soldiers, a long time ago, arguably did so doesn’t mean that’s what you’re doing and that everyone should bow down to you. You should expect respect, because you’re probably a decent human being, and decent human beings deserve just that, respect. But don’t despise other decent human beings for not having made the same choice of lifestyle. And don’t expect free iPhones.

      That said, I can’t help thinking that if Apple had offered him a new phone, some of the same Apple fanboys who are defending this decision would be raving about how great a company it is for giving away iPhones even though they didn’t have to…