UNDATED (CBS) -- What does war look like from a soldier's point of view? Tens of millions of YouTube viewers now know thanks to a video taken in Afghanistan that's gone viral. The man who shot the "helmet cam" video got shot in the process.

It has become one of the most viewed 3-minutes of war video ever with 23 million hits on You Tube. A battle with Taliban forces in Afghanistan seen through the helmet camera of PFC Ted Daniels.

It started when he purposely moved into the open, drawing fire on himself to protect the seven men in his unit.

Daniels says, "You know, tactically, it was not a sound thing to do. Um, but I also remember Murphy's Laws of Combat. If it's stupid but works, it isn't stupid."

Then a Taliban bullet hit part of his gun and it flew out of his hand. Daniels says, "It was almost like if you took an aluminum baseball bat and hit a metal pole with it. That's what my hand felt like. I was actually afraid at first to look down at my hand - wanted to make sure I still had all my fingers and everything else.

Daniels reached for his rifle. Enemy bullets exploded on the rocks, sending fragments into his arm. Daniels says, "Yeah, well like I said that was a, that was a vulnerable moment for me right there. You know, I kind of pride myself on being a tough guy. Not once in my life have I ever cried out like that - and um, ever. I thought I was going to die."

His arms were peppered and bleeding but he managed to get his rifle back and by then other men in the unit were also firing at the Taliban. There the video stops; his camera battery goes dead but then comes a harrowing run down the hill to rejoin his unit when the bullets came even closer. Daniels says, "A round had hit the corner of my eye protection. They blew right off of my face. And I had another round skip off the side of my Kevlar helmet."

As to how the world got to see Daniel's video, it was a mistake. He uploaded it to what he thought was a private channel on YouTube. Another YouTube user, Funker530 who collects war videos, saw it and asked if he could post it as part of his documentary of combat footage. Daniels said "yes.' That's when the video went viral.

Daniels says, "I contacted him. Through Facebook, I found him on Facebook. And I said, please, can you just take this video down. It's gonna end up bringing a lot of heat on me. It's not something that I really want. Please remove it. Never got a reply. It's still there." Daniels says it wasn't intended for everyone else to see and he says it was a mistake uploading it.

Daniels said he violated no rules in taking the video; his commander did not specifically bar soldiers from making videos as other commanders have done. The Pentagon discourages the release of videos, in part so as not to give the Taliban any tactical information or propaganda tools. As for Daniels, the important thing was how the battle that day ended.

Daniels says, "We made it. We made it, you know. Um, you know we all made it out and we all made it to fight another day. And it felt good."

Read or Share this story: