Specialist Lance Pilgrim was among the first Army troops to enter Iraq in March 2003.
Afterwards, he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress.
When his parents — Judy and Randy Pilgrim — sat down for StoryCorps, they remembered their son’s four-year long struggle to leave the war behind.
Specialist Lance Pilgrim died in August 2007. He was 26 years old.
The Pilgrims filed a civil lawsuit against the US Department of Veterans Affairs claiming negligence in the treatment of their son. The case was settled in 2011.
In 2004, in his attempt to get his discharge turned around, Lance wrote a letter to the Veterans Affairs hospital. His mother, Judy, wanted to share it.