Susan Sonnheim is an American veteran formerly of the Wisconsin National Guard who served in the Iraq War. While on duty Sonnheim was the victim of a roadside bomb in Baghdad which left her body filled with shrapnel, blinding her in one eye as well as causing injuries to her spine and limbs. She only survived the attack because the bullet that penetrated her Kevlar vest and would have killed her was stopped by a tobacco tin in her pocket. Following her injuries, Sonnheim became the first woman in the National Guard to receive the Purple Heart medal awarded to wounded soldiers.
Since returning home to the US, Sonnheim has described a lack of acceptance of her veteran status because she is a woman and says there is gender bias in the care that American soldiers returning from war receive. She is quoted in The Guardian saying "There is no reason for women not to be in combat. It's a buddy system – you look after the person next to you whether they are male or female. Once you are a soldier, that's the way it is, a soldier is a soldier."
Photo credit: Tom Sperduto, sourced from TIME magazine.