Some of us would have heard the stories of soldiers putting their life on the line in the Middle East while fighting in the war. During this devastating period, many soldiers have been killed, but some have managed to survive, with injuries that they’ll live with for the rest of their lives.
The photos below were taken by photographer David Jay, who compiled the photos into a series called “Unknown Soldiers,” to document the severe impact war had on these wounded soldiers. Here are 10 photos of veterans who managed to return home from war.
#1. Bobby Henline
Bobby was the only survivor after the transport he was in caught ablaze when impacted by a roadside bomb in Iraq.
#2. Nicholas John Vogt
First Lieutenant Vogt was severely injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) while on foot patrol in Panjwaii, Afghanistan. When Jay asked him if the photos could be posted online, he said: “The only thing that I want to pass on is this: Losing limbs is like losing a good friend. We wish we could still be with them, but it wasn’t ‘in the cards.’ Then we get up, remember the good times, and thank God for whatever we have left.”
#3. Jerral Hancock
Hancock is pictured here with one of his two children. He was injured in Iraq when a roadside bomb pierced the armor of a tank that he was driving, and broke the interior.
#4. Tomas Young
Young was paralyzed after he was shot in the spine in Iraq while in an unarmored vehicle. He had a short time to live and died in 2014 due to complications from his injuries.
#5. Jason Pak
First Lieutenant Pak was on foot patrol in Afghanistan when an IED exploded, causing him to lose his legs and part of his hand. But the blast didn’t take away his spirit.
#6. Bobby Bernier
Bernier, pictured here with his daughter Layla, suffered from burns covering 60 percent of his body after being hit by artillery.
#7. Cedric King
King was injured and lost his legs when an IED exploded in Afghanistan. He told Jay that Vogt (pictured in the second photo) has changed his life. “That man doesn’t know it but he changed my life. There was a point when I was so down that I thought I couldn’t go on. And then one day I saw him swimming … and I just thought, wow … if he can go on like that, then I can go on too,” he said.
#8. Spc. Marissa Strock
She was 20 years old when the vehicle she was in was struck by an IED that was buried in the road.
#9. Matt Smith
Major Smith was shot along with five others by a member of the Afghan National Army in 2013. His leg was amputated after the bullet severed his femoral artery.
#10. Shilo Harris
Shilo was severely burned by a roadside bomb in 2007, and only he and his driver survived, out of a crew of five.