There are about 2.4 million post-9/11 veterans and half are between the ages of 25 and 35. And many of them are finding getting back into the civilian workforce can be a challenge.
As Staff Sgt. Jaime Prado works on a project for one of his photography classes, he reflects on how different his life is now just a year and a half after returning to civilian life.
"We had car bombings, people getting shot," he said.
Prado served two tours in Iraq. In 2004 he came under attack. As the insurgents tried to get away, his arm got caught in the truck.
"My arm got pulled. It got caught on the door. I got dragged on the side of the road pretty much," he said.
He ended up with back and neck injuries but kept going because he did not want to let his team down. In 2011 he was forced to medically retire.
The biggest challenge for the 30-year-old, like so many other veterans, has been making the transition from military to civilian life.
"You get used to the adrenaline and moving all the time," he said.
That's why an insurance company for the military and Military.com searched for cities that provide the most opportunities for veterans. They considered availability of jobs, access to higher education and affordability.
Dallas came in third behind Pittsburgh and Phoenix.
One big reason it made the list is because of the number of health resources in the area. That's important to Prado because he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and arthritis of the spine.
For now he's taking advantage of everything Dallas has to offer and is using his GI bill to pay for school. He hopes to start a new chapter in his life.
"It's tough, but my wife supports me," he said.
KDFW FOX 4
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