In 2004, Kessel commanded the Illinois Army Guard's Battery F, 1st Battalion, 202nd Air Defense Artillery from Galva, Ill., a town of about 2,200 people. Home from Iraq, it featured wounded veterans interviewed by James Gandolfini, the actor best known for portraying Tony Soprano. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have demonsoated the ability of seriously wounded soldiers to pick themselves up and get on with their lives, like the runners who compete in distance races on artificial legs.
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