When Corporal Simon Brown was struck by an insurgent bullet in Basra, it left his cheekbones shattered and his eyesight severely impaired.
Cpl Brown will receive a lapel badge in a ceremony in Blackpool
He had to keep his thumb in his mouth to stop from choking and eventually went into a drug-induced coma for three weeks.
For many, this type of ordeal would be too much to bear. Yet Simon Brown, 29, is looking forward to the rest of his life with real optimism and has no regrets that he made such a sacrifice.
He will be among many former service personnel being awarded lapel badges in a series of events being organised for Veterans Day.
The event comes at a time when there has been growing criticism of how troops are treated, in terms of equipment, accommodation and pay.
Mr Brown, from Morley, West Yorkshire, himself says he hopes the event will help to raise recognition of what the armed forces did, admitting that friends of his still suffered abuse because of their job.
"There is a split; it depends on which area of the country you live in and people's political opinions."
Mr Brown said people in his local area had been "very appreciative" toward him.
"I have had friends (in the Army) spat at… it is all races, creeds and colours doing it.
"Some people think we are scum and I think that is wrong. We don't make decisions, we are doing as we are told."
He added: "Veterans Day could help. It is just making people aware of who we are and what we do.
"It is a celebration of troops. It is like a big thank you. People are coming up and saying 'Thank you'.
"Troops put other things before themselves. This is a good recognition for that."
He added that it would also lift the morale of troops serving in Iraq.
"It gives you a massive sense of pride…I have done something good in my life."
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Cpl Brown was serving with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers attached to 2 Lancs in Iraq when he suffered the injuries in December 2006. He had done a previous stint in Iraq in 2003 and also served in Kosovo in 1999.
He was called to help a broken-down vehicle which was being fired on by insurgents. He described his function as being 'the AA in the battle zone'.
Describing the scene, he said: "The driver could not see…it was very dusty."
In order to avoid hitting civilians, Mr Brown leaned out of the window to ensure the vehicle could drive off safely - and was hit by gunfire.
Simon Brown says: "In the first instance I thought, 'Oh my God, what has happened?'.
Following a three-week coma, he realised his sight had been seriously damaged by the accident. His left eye was destroyed and he had just 10% vision in the right one.
He said: "I was a bit gutted. I had two weeks of sulking. Then I thought, that is the deck I got and I have got to use it."
The fact that he survived the ordeal also provided inspiration as he sought to recover, he adds.
Although his parents and brothers were initially - and understandably - upset, he says the closeness of his family, as well as his own positive attitude, helped everyone to pull through.
Cpl Brown, who has officially not yet been discharged from duty, also pays tribute to the charity St Dunstan's, which provides crucial help to former personnel who have suffered significant loss of sight.
Explaining how he has maintained such an optimistic outlook, Corp Brown said: "It is the support I have had. The St Dunstan's people, their support has been one of the major factors. You are mixing with people in the same situation."
Mr Brown says the charity has helped him in terms of planning the next phase of his life. He has been offered a job to teach mechanics at a high school.
"I am only 29 years old. I have 25 years of work ahead of me and I intend to work them."