After rejection from the United States military for an eye defect, Ernest Hemingway became an ambulance driver for the American Red Cross in May 1918. Two months later, stationed in Italy, he was hit by fragments of an Austrian trench mortar shell. The soldier nearest him was killed. Hemingway was dragging another soldier to safety when he was injured again, this time by machine gun bullets in the knee. He spent three months in a hospital in Milan, where he turned 19, fell in love with a nurse and underwent a dozen operations to remove shell fragments from his legs and body. The experience left him with insomnia and the inability to sleep in the dark.