Editor's note: A combat wounded veteran, Ryan served in the U.S. Army as an armor officer assigned to 1st Battalion, 13th Armor Regiment. While deployed to Iraq in 2005, his vehicle was hit with an improvised explosive device buried in the road. He works as the Wounded Warrior Project's national Combat Stress Recovery Program director.
On Nov. 29, 2005, my life changed forever. I was a 24-year-old U.S. Army armor captain deployed to Taji, Iraq, when my vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. On that day, I lost two of my soldiers, Sgts. Jerry Mills and Donald Hasse, and I lost my right arm and left leg.
The Pentagon has finally exempted wounded warriors from its non-deployable policy, nearly six months after Defense Secretary Mattis announced that troops wounded in combat would not be separated for being unable to deploy.
Anthony Drees vividly recalls the 1991 Iraqi missile attack on U.S. military barracks in Saudi Arabia that claimed the lives of more than two dozen fellow service members — an event that would also put his on a new course.