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Lance Cpl. Matthew Fitzpatrick.

Lance Cpl. Matthew Fitzpatrick's arms are covered with tattoos. The Portland, Maine, native has a permanent dip of smokeless tobacco in his lip and a ready joke or jibe for his fellow Marines. He enlisted in the Marine Corps as an infantryman in 2005 at the end of his junior year of high school.

While on a mission in Iraq supporting a sniper team, Fitzpatrick came under fire. He was injured by an IED while on foot.

"I took pretty good shrapnel wounds to my legs, a laceration to my scrotum, shrapnel to my left arm and I was unconscious," Fitzpatrick said. He underwent several surgeries at an Army hospital in Ramadi before arriving at Maxwell Hall.

He said he'd get out after the end of his tour.

"I can't get back to my sniper team so I don't want to stay in. I'm going to get out and go home and go to school," he said. He plans to become an electrician.

But for now, Fitzpatrick is where he needs to be to continue healing, physically and emotionally.

He said that everyday events can sometimes provoke anxiety.

"If something happens, like a lightening storm, sometimes it doesn't click that it's a lightening storm and then you figure out what it is and it's not that big of a deal. But the first one is really kind of interesting," Fitzpatrick mused. "Just about everybody in Iraq has been blown up and shot at. It's kind of a Marine Corps-wide thing, I guess. It's just good to be around other wounded Marines now that I'm back."

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Title Annotation:PROFILES
Publication:DAV Magazine
Date:Mar 1, 2007
Previous Article:The wounded warriors: Pfc. Adam Turner.
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