CPL Tyson Johnson (22)

We went to the concentration camp there, the prison. I did most of my time over there.

It was crazy. The Iraqis, they wake up about five in the morning
and they walking like zombies, just walking, walking, like walking
dead type junk. I'm serious.

Most of my friends they were losing it out there. They would do
anything to get out of there, do anything. I had one of my guys,
he used to tell me. "my wife just had my son. I can 't wait to get
home and see him." And, you know, he died out there. He sure did
and I have to think about that everyday.

Well, uh, shrapnel down the back, shrapnel that came in and hit
my head, punctured my lungs. I broke both of my arms. I lost a
kidney. My intestines was messed up. They look an artery out of
my left leg and put it into this right arm. They pretty much took my
life. Pretty much.

I was supposed to be going to physical and occupational therapy
then they canceled it because I missed three days in a row. I was
throwing up. I couldn't hold anything in my stomach. Now I have
to do OT myself. I'm trying to leach my son how to count on his
hand. And you can see my fingers is messed up. Sometimes my
hands will be so red. So fire red, I’m not able to drive. I've got to
put on my gloves. I'm not able to touch anything.

l got a bonus in the National Guards for joining the Army. Now
I've got to pay the bonus back and it 's $2999. If I would have
continued and finished my contract I wouldn't have to pay it back.
The Guard wants a back. It's on my credit that I owe them that.
I'm burning on the inside. I'm burning.

My high school buddies. well two of them just got found in a ditch
around there, dead, dead. And the rest of them in jail, cracked
out. For real. That 's why after high school, I left. I was gone
because I knew where my life was headed. Joined the Army. And
here I am. back here, I would love to go away. I would love to go
away. I think that would be better. Because I'm driving in my car,
I 'm doing nothing. I don't know where it 's going to end up.

Uit: 'Purple Hearts, Back from Iraq', Nina Berman