Healing Sgt. Warren
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Healing Sgt. Warren

Jonathan Warren on patrol in Iraq. He was “everything you want in a team leader,” said his commander. (John Cooley)
Scott Stephenson and Jonathan Warren on patrol in early November 2006. They’d been together since basic training at Ft. Benning, Ga. ()
The wreckage of Warren’s Humvee. His best friend, Stephenson, took the brunt of the bomb blast. ()
Warren escaped serious injury. Stephenson’s chances of survival were put at 5%.  (Kathleen Curran)
Warren participates in research into post-traumatic stress disorder at the VA hospital in Long Beach.  (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
In a simulation, a Humvee rolls down a virtual street in a user-generated scenario designed to mimic combat situations. Virtual reality is used in prolonged exposure therapy.  (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
Jonathan Warren dons his Army uniform before attending a ceremony honoring veterans at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa. He was skilled at masking his torment.  (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
Warren enrolled in psychology classes at Vanguard University, hoping to understand his damaged mind.  (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
Warren joined the Army hoping to fight in the war on terrorism, and to find the sense of warrior camaraderie he had seen in films.  (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
Warren holds his friend’s prosthetic leg. Stephenson would become accustomed to people gawking; sometimes he snarled, “Five dollars for the freak show!” (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
Stephenson shares a hotel room in Las Vegas with Warren. Stephenson had learned to walk on a prosthetic leg and gone through therapy for PTSD. His anger had decreased. But he heard despair in Warren’s voice and urged him to seek help.  (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
Stephenson had to endure 20 surgeries after the explosion. His young son broke a leg off each of his GI Joes so they would resemble his dad. (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
Stephenson, left, was known in the Army as “Oreo.” Warren was “The Duke.” In civilian life, they lived in different states, but their friendship remained strong.  (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
Warren and Stephenson share stories about their time together in Iraq while attending a veterans event in Las Vegas. Warren regarded him as a little brother. (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
Warren seeks solace on the dock overlooking Newport Bay, where he would walk daily. Anxiety, dread and guilt followed him home from war.  (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
Warren strolls on Balboa Island with Lindsay Marissa and Briana Baker. Warren’s daily walks, usually solitary, help him cope with the memories. (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
Warren, center, joins hands with close friends and family to say a prayer after his graduation from Vanguard University. (Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)
Warren adjusts an American flag during a celebration at his parents’ Laguna Niguel home after his graduation from Vanguard University. He knows that confronting his worst day might only be the start of healing. (Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)
At an “Honor the Valor” benefit football game, Warren salutes with Harry Clew, 90, of Dana Point, who spent 15 months as a prisoner of war in World War II.  (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
Warren, left, embraces his brother Logan at the conclusion of Logan’s last high school football game. Warren and other veterans were honored at the event. In the months after his therapy ended in the spring of 2012, he realized that confronting the events of Nov. 25, 2006, might be only the beginning of healing.  (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)