Wounded student veteran shares experiences of war

This article has been changed from its original version. Please note Krowel served in Iraq, not Afghanistan and the CNN report found more than 30,000 troops who have been wounded in Iraq not 9,000.


At first glance it is obvious Justin Krowel, 28, is not a traditional Ball State student.

But it isn't just his age that sets Krowel apart from his classmates who are up to ten years younger than him. He is one of the nearly 400 student veterans that Ball State currently has on campus.

Krowel is a sociology major and was a private first class when he left the service, which took him on an eight-month deployment in Iraq.

The student veteran received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star in 2003 for merit after breaking multiple ribs yet continuing to fight after a truck hit him during an ambush by a group of insurgents.

"I jumped out of the way because I saw the truck and my first thought was that I got hit in the back because I felt the impact from the back," Krowel said. "When the truck backed up and I was laying on the ground my first thought was to get up because I didn't want to die laying down. I can still close my eyes and see everything."

Krowel made it out of Iraq in one piece and is now living in Muncie with his wife April and daughter Abbi and is a full time student. But he said he has mixed feelings about receiving his awards.

"It's like I got an award for doing my job," Krowel said. "I just try to stay as super humble as I can about it because other guys did more than me or equal to me and I think they should have gotten something too."

According to a CNN online report, Krowel is one of more than 30,000 troops who have been wounded in Iraq since the United States began military operations in the area.

American soldiers who have been wounded in the Middle East have been getting some extra publicity recently. According to CNN, some wounded soldiers are being redeployed.

Dan Speer, who is a junior criminal justice major and part of Delta Company of the 293rd Infantry division in the Indiana National Guard, said some soldiers who were wounded in battle chose to return to combat.

"I read a story recently of a soldier who was blinded in combat. He doesn't fight anymore but is still in the military, which used to be unheard of. If you were blind that was it," Speer said. "But they still have work for him to do because he wanted to do it. You'd be surprised at a lot of the guys who want to go back after being injured."


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