An Ex-Soldier Finds a New Mission

Living with injuries, a former medic aims to help other veterans

Former Army Medic Finds a New Mission in College 2

Joey Pulone for The Chronicle

Matthew Reilly, shown here at the U. of Maryland-Baltimore County, was an intense student who worked well with younger classmates, according to his professors at Montgomery College, from where he transferred. He says others' unthinking comments about his service have often been difficult to take.

Matthew Reilly's roundabout journey to college took a painful, decisive turn after a nighttime crash in Iraq.

In 2008, six months into his first combat tour with the Army, Mr. Reilly and nine soldiers from his platoon were pursuing an insurgent when their armored fighting vehicle slammed into a roadblock. It was 2 o'clock in the morning, and fresh snow blanketed the ground. To avoid detection, the troops had been traveling without lights. Only the driver wore an infrared device to