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Ron Strang lay helpless in the dirt as the hole in his leg was packed with gauze and swathed in bandages.

The Marine sergeant was on foot patrol in Afghanistan's Helmand Province when an improvised explosive device tore through his left thigh, shredding his muscle and draining half his blood.

"I'm sure I would've died without the quick actions of my fellow Marines," said Strang, 28, who endured more than a dozen surgeries and painful skin grafts to close the gaping wound.

Though his skin eventually healed, Strang was left with half the quadriceps he once had.

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