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  • The day that his injuries became too much to bear was the day that everything changed.

    Ross Raymond knew his M1 Abrams tank inside and out. Six years on the crew was all gone when he finally had to medically retire from the Army.

    "I'm all beat up," he told me. Sometimes you couldn't tell, as he walked around with his 20 month old daughter or corralled his dog. But he was slow to get up from the couch to get his 3-week-old son some warm milk.

    The injuries were bad enough that they held him back from moving on to any modicum of a normal job. There was no going back to driving trucks like before the military. He couldn't even work with his hands as a mechanic.

    Raymond wishes he could go back, he admitted to me. But now he's at home with his wife and their new children. In fact, he's home a lot. He stays at home during the day, taking care of the family while his wife works as an X-ray technician. In the evening he goes on motorcycle rides or works in the garage, but he's still adjusting to this new life.

    His hands rained down fire from the 120 mm smoothbore gun of the Abrams, but now they're settling in to a new purpose, cradling his newborn son, Richard Raymond IV.

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