An Iraq Veteran’s Journey of Healing

In 2007, the now-Retired U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Marshall Powell served as a medic in Iraq. After his deployment, he returned home with an injury that wasn’t visible to the eye. He had suffered what is now termed “moral injury”: the internal suffering that results from an action that goes against one’s moral code. As he… Continue Reading An Iraq Veteran’s Journey of Healing

In 2007, the now-Retired U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Marshall Powell served as a medic in Iraq. After his deployment, he returned home with an injury that wasn’t visible to the eye. He had suffered what is now termed “moral injury”: the internal suffering that results from an action that goes against one’s moral code.

As he details in his story in the May 2017 issue of Guideposts, Sergeant Marshall was faced with a decision no one should face while dealing with the aftermath of a bombing in Mosul, Iraq. That decision has haunted him ever since, but with the assistance of some fellow veterans in group therapy, he came to realize that he wasn’t alone, and he has slowly but surely found peace and healing.

Iraq Veteran's Journey of Healing: A childhood photo of Sgt. Powell rests alongside the Bronze Star he earned in Iraq at his home in Crescent, Oklahoma.

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A childhood photo of Powell rests alongside the Bronze Star he earned in Iraq at his home in Crescent, Oklahoma.


Iraq Veteran's Journey of Healing: Sgt. Powell straightens a photo of his mother on a wall at his brother's house

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Powell, who has come to rely on the support of fellow veterans and family members in his path to healing, straightens a photo of his mother on a wall at his brother’s house.

Iraq Veteran's Journey of Healing: A page from a letter Powell wrote to the parents of an Iraqi girl who died under his care after an attack

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Powell wrote a letter to the parents of an Iraqi girl who died under his care after an attack. Powell was unable to send the letter because he didn’t know the girl’s identity, but composing it proved to be therapeutic.

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Iraq Veteran's Journey of Healing: Powell pauses while discussing the traumatic experiences of his 2007 tour as a military nurse in northern Iraq during one of the bloodiest years of the Iraq war.

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Powell pauses while discussing the traumatic experiences of his 2007 tour as a military nurse in northern Iraq during one of the bloodiest years of the Iraq war.


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Powell stands with a U.S. Army medevac helicopter during his last tour in Iraq.


Iraq Veteran's Journey of Healing: Powell holds his two-year-old grandson, Ezekiel Marshall.

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Powell holds his two-year-old grandson, Ezekiel Marshall.

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