As combat journalist David Wood points out, the odd of surviving combat these days have improved significantly.  Historically, the ratio of fatalities to casualties in war have been much higher than what we’ve seen in these last ten years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Wood points out that “if you are wounded in Afghanistan, you chances of dying are less than one in 10, statistically speaking.”

According to Wood, there have been (at the time of his writing) 53,000 casualties in the two fronts, and 46,747 of them have been saved.  The losses are heartbreaking, but significantly lower than in previous wars. This is a direct result of advances in medical technology available both on the field and in hospitals that serve our men and women in arms.

Wood asks the uncomfortable question about quality of life, particularly for our veterans who have lost multiple, in some cases all, limbs.  What he finds is often an amazing sense of optimism.  But obviously, a number of challenges are in store for even the most optimistic.

One of the challenges faced by veterans recovering from serious wounds sustained in service of our country is adapting to the living environment, which many of us take for granted.  If you’ve ever broken a limb or been otherwise injured, you may recall the challenges of getting in and around your home.  Imagine coming home and having to navigate doors, hallways, and stairs that were no problem before a severe injury.

Homes for Our Troops is a non-profit organization based in Massachusetts which helps build and remodel homes for troops with these kinds of injuries.  Even as U.S. participation in Iraq draws down significantly, homes are more needed than ever.  There are no costs for the vets receiving these homes, not even a mortgage.  In the video below you can see how this effects one service member.