Eyewitness News reporter Rachel Polansky spoke with 3 area marines who just made their journey home and are trying to re- join civilian society. For some returning veterans they face another battle upon returning home - it's the fight against Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - a wound of war that's not always visible to others.
I spoke with 3 marines who served in Afghanistan and while they don't have PTSD, they say every returning veteran feels some of the symptoms.
"I lost a ton of blood, so it pretty much looked like I was gonna die," says Matt Mcelhinney, returning Marine.
"I can hear the rounds snapping by my face, skipping off the wall, and I looked back at them again, and it felt like someone hit me with a sledgehammer, I knew what happened, there's no other feeling like it," says Greg Lewis, Marine.
"Is this really happening? It felt so surreal, you never think it's gonna happen to you," says Brian Carnes, Marine.
Three hometown heroes with 5 bullet wounds among them, but these brave marines say the battle scars go far deeper than what's visible on their skin.
"I was 19 when I got shot, what 19 year old wants to go through that? You go out everyday, getting shot at, it's 125 degrees outside. We're out there strapping on gear knowing, hey we're going to war today, I hope I make it home," says Lewis.
Mental health disorders in active-duty troops has increased 65% since 2000 and more than 936,000 service members have been diagnosed with at least one mental disorder. But these marines say the hardest part is transitioning back into society.
"I walked with a cane for a better part of a year. You go from being this alpha male going toe-to-toe with the Taliban and you're on top of the world and then just like that, you're just some dude with a cane," says Mcelhinney.
"It's so evident that PTSD is coming back with just about everyone returning home, ya know, it's difficult and does take a long time to recover," says Lewis.
But despite the bullet wounds and the painful memories, all 3 marines agree that they are proud to have served their country.
"That was a good chapter in my life and helped me grow, but I'm ready to move on to the next thing, go to college, and get a career," says Carnes.
"I wouldn't trade that for anything, I plan on starting college in the fall," says Lewis.
The wounds of war can be physical and psychological but thanks to the support from their friends and family, all 3 marines say they're happy to be home and are looking forward to re-joining civilian life.