When Marine Corps heavy machine gunner Erik DeGiorgi returned to his native Plymouth in 2005, the South Shore town seemed nearly as foreign as the endless valleys his unit cleared in Afghanistan.
“I had changed. I didn’t know how to even communicate with my friends and family here,” he said. “Our unit in Afghanistan, we were the first ones there. Our job was to push north and gain territory, and it was just day-to-day. Coming back was an extreme change and I didn’t know how to deal with it . . . I was hugely adrift.”