(U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Robert Alejandre)

Just two years after the Marine Corps dropped $51 million to issue every single grunt a new lightweight combat helmet, the service is eyeing yet another newer, lighter combat helmet.

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Staff Sgt. Steven McQueen, and his wife Aaron, with a plaque featuring a portion of the Enhanced Combat Helmet that saved his life during an insider attack in Afghanistan last year. (Military.com/Matthew Cox)

Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Staff Sgt. Steven McQueen still can't believe how quickly he got to his feet after a bullet from an enemy rifle struck him in the back of his helmet during an insider attack in Afghanistan last year.

Two gunmen opened fire on McQueen and fellow soldiers from the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade from a distance of 20 feet during the Sept. 3 shooting.

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U.S. Marine Corps/Cpl. Justin A. Bopp

“Everything but the kitchen sink” might as well be the maxim of post-9/11 Marines who lugged half their body weight across Afghanistan and Iraq. Now, after years of bad backs, aching knees, and endless griping, the Marine Corps — in a joint effort with the Army — is racing to lighten the load.

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U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Taylor Cooper.

For years, the Marine Corps has relied on the tried and battle-tested but tired M203 grenade launcher gracing their rifle muzzles, but the times, they are a-changin’. Only eight years after the Army got theirs, the Corps has finally gotten its hands on the M320 grenade launcher.

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U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Isaac Ibarra

The Marine Corps just awarded a $51 million contract to issue every Marine the Enhanced Combat Helmet, Marine Corps Systems Command announced on June 9.

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