I bookmarked this thread because I'm from a long line of military veterans (so the restoration of this picture touched my heart) and I wanted to see how you progressed. Being a beginner at this sort of thing it was really informative to see how someone can go from point A to point B.
One of my biggest challenges is that I have a hard time seeing how things progress. I can't look at an image and say, "oh yes, I'll just add this layer and this layer, a few more steps, and viola a finished picture (it's also probably the reason I can't draw at all - I can't see the steps needed to get a final image with shadows, etc.." So anywho, what I wanted to say was, thanks for sharing your work as you progressed, it was really helpful for me.
I'm sure the owner of the image will be thrilled with your work. I love how you did the eyes, they really bring the soldier to life (and to me are the most important part of an image like this). Well done on this VERY tough image.