September 8, 2007

large_legs.JPG large_humvee.JPG Via

Marine Cpl. Jacob Schick says he was ready to die in Iraq. He wasn't prepared to come home in pieces.

The bomb that tore through the floor of his Humvee in the fall of 2004 shredded his legs and left arm. Forty-six surgeries later, Schick is an amputee still learning to cope with physical limitations that as a star high school athlete he never dreamed he would face.

Perhaps just as daunting has been learning to navigate the veterans' health care system, which he says demeans the sacrifice of all veterans.

"When you have to deal with the VA (Veterans Affairs) or TRICARE (the federal health insurance program), you feel beaten down," Schick said. "You are a number, and you feel like a number. It's a total, total beat-down."

Schick, 25, who grew up in Texas and Louisiana and now lives in Gretna, is one of the 10 injured veterans featured in an HBO film, "Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq," that airs tonight. The title of the documentary, produced by "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini, refers to the date that the injured narrowly escape death and realize that they are still alive. Read more...

Here's more on "Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq" which airs tonight at 10:30pm EST.

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