The Digital Journalist
© Nina Berman

"I lost my left leg, just below the knee. Lost my eyesight, which is still unsettled about whether it will come back or not. I have shrapnel in pretty much every part of my body. Got my finger blown off. It don't work right. I had a hole blown through my right leg. Had 3 skin grafts to try and repair it. It's not too bad right now. It hurts a lot, that's about it. You know not really anything major. Just little things. I get headaches. I have a piece of shrapnel in my neck that came up through my vest and went into my throat and it's sitting behind my trachea, and when I swallow it kind of feels like I have a pill in my throat. Some stuff like that. And my left ear, it don't work either.

I don't have any regrets. No not at all. It was the best experience of my life. Twenty-one years old and I've seen a couple of countries. I've been pretty much everywhere and done everything. I've jumped out of airplanes. I got to play with mines. I got to see how the army works. I got to go mess around with a bunch of guys that feel the same way that I do, that all enjoy it. I got to interact with people of another culture, people who live their lives 100 percent different than the way we live here.

I have one brother and one sister. Couldn't tell you where they live. For a while we grew up together. Mother? Father? Well they both exist. They're both alive, but circumstances regarding the relationship are kind of complicated.

I sleep. I don't do anything really. Ain't nothing to really to do around here. It's a shit hole. Same thing it was when I left.

One of the biggest things that's wrong with people nowadays, they're so anti military. Not in the sense where they don't want a military, but they don't want our military involved in a conflict. And that's what makes us America.

I want to go into politics. Run for office maybe. This is still secret, but I'm talking with people about working with the army. Going on speaking tours. That kind of thing."

Spc. Sam Ross, 21, combat engineer, 82nd Airborne Division, was injured May 18, 2003 in Baghdad when a bomb blew up during a munitions disposal operation. He is blind and an amputee. Photographed in the woods near his trailer where he lives alone in Dunbar Township, Pennsylvania October 19, 2003.