U.S. Marine Corps journalist Aaron Mankin was severely burned during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005 when his vehicle ran over an improvised explosive device. Mankin, one of the few survivors of the attack, suffered burns over 25-30% of his body and lost his nose and both ears. He had more than 55 surgeries including reconstruction of both cheeks, upper and lower lips, and ears. Mankin has since become a spokesman for severely burned and injured servicemen and women, raising awareness of "Operation Mend", a partnership between Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Brooke Army Medical Center and the VA-Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, established to treat U.S. military personnel severely wounded during service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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