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The New York Times ran this story from San Diego yesterday about an innovative program that helps train wounded Marines new skills and possibly new careers.

The Wounded Marine Careers Foundation is a 10-week course that is run by movie industry veterans in San Diego and currently has 19 students, all wounded Marine veterans.

Here’s a snippet from the story:

Here, a student casually peels off his shirt to reveal indentations and stitches crisscrossing a shoulder nearly obliterated by rifle fire. Another hikes up a pant leg to explain how his prosthetic limb works. And one, in the quiet of a “mess hall,” a store house for props, speaks of the nightmares that rob him of sleep.

But it is also a place where marines, most them in their 20s, see a path to dreams and a way to overcome their disabilities, with the guarantee of membership in the main production crew union at the end and producers already calling for their services.

Mr. Callender, of Downey, Calif., who was a lance corporal, said the program rescued him from despair over his injuries and his future. He broke his spine, pelvis, kneecaps and other body parts in September 2005 when he was shot by a sniper and then ejected from a vehicle that moments later hit a roadside bomb in the Anbar Province.

“I had no idea what I wanted to do,” said Mr. Callender, who in December retired from the Marines because of his injuries. “I was very depressed and just trying to figure out how I was going to be mobile and just get on with life after being wounded.”

The story says many of the Marines on the course hope they will learn valuable skills that might help them launch new careers in the film industry.

WILL CARLESS

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