Anyway, there are countless examples of the solid relationship with American troops and the Iraqi children. These latest three stories are just further evidence of the extent to which our troops will go to help an Iraqi child in need.
Army News Service:
Soldiers have answered the prayers of an Iraqi boy and his parents in Hollandia.
Sitting in the local health clinic with his father on a May morning, Ahaip Najim had no idea that hope would arrive. But in came members of the 97th Civil Affairs Battalion and 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, to assess the town's needs.
"They discovered him in the health clinic there and just gathered around him," said Capt. Jimmy Hathaway, commander, Headquarters Troop, 3rd Sqdn., 1st Cav. Regt. "They decided right there that they were going to do everything in their power to help him."
The boy had an obstructed bowel, and had undergone surgery that left his intestines outside of his body. The risk of infection was serious, and our troops went to work to get the boy the proper surgery.
Cavalry and civil affairs Soldiers began calling contacts throughout the Army to find help for the child.
"Finally, we were put in contact with the hospital in An Najaf, Iraq," Capt. Hathaway said. "They agreed to help us."
The next challenge was getting Ahaip and his father to al Sadr Hospital, but the pieces fell into place after the Soldiers explained the situation to Multinational Force - Iraq Commander Gen. David H. Petraeus.
"He asked if there was anything we needed. He said this is exactly the type of thing we needed to be doing and volunteered his own aircraft," Capt. Hathaway said. "The aircraft was provided by Multinational Division - Center, but Gen. Petraeus' offer really said a lot about how important this mission had become to everyone."
They used two Blackhawks, two Apaches and a MEDEVAC to make sure the boy was safe during transport.
He is recovering now.
This act of kindness from our troops has had an astounding impact on that city.
The coalition's relationship with the town of Hollandia has improved with Soldiers' help to the boy and his family, Capt Hathaway added.
"They are very pro-coalition," he said. "They all saw the coverage of this on Iraqi television and saw that we were trying to help. One man told me, 'You did what you said you were going to do. Thank you.' That means a lot. We go into the town now and people come out to see us. They laugh and joke with us. We feel very welcome there."
The next story is somewhat similar.
Even though she’s surrounded by war, Dalal is not much different from other children her age. She likes jump-rope and Cinderella and enjoys reading and drawing. Her favorite classes are religion and language, and she recently completed second grade -- earning perfect marks in all her studies. But, unlike many of her peers, the 8-year-old Iraqi girl also has fought a life-threatening battle from within since birth.
Due to the efforts of a U.S. Special Forces medic and an Army civil affairs noncommissioned officer, all of that changed recently, and Dalal was granted a new lease on life.
Dalal received an operation in Amman, Jordan, July 23 to correct a heart defect known as “tetralogy of Fallot.” The congenital disease causes a decreased flow of blood to the lungs, as well as mixing of blood from separate chambers of the heart. Left unattended, Dalal’s prognosis could have been death around the time she hit puberty.
I especially thought her liking Cinderella was a nice touch in the piece.
Dalal’s journey to the operating room began in eastern Iraq several months ago.
“The previous (Special Forces) team here discovered her,” said Army Staff Sgt. Joe Murtaugh, a U.S. Special Forces medical sergeant assigned to Iraq’s Anbar province.
While reviewing Dalal’s medical records, Murtaugh found an e-mail address for the International Organization of Migration in Jordan and contacted them for assistance.
“They directed us to several contacts, but the most important was (Army Staff Sgt. Marikay Satryano). She took care of all the logistical details in Jordan and even arranged for three organizations to cover the $8,000 cost of Dalal’s surgery,” Murtaugh said.
A civil affairs specialist assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Satryano created a program that matches charities and corporations to individual Iraqi children’s cases. Over the past two years, she has arranged for 61 children to receive lifesaving cardiac surgery either in Amman or the United States. In Dalal’s case, Satryano coordinated with the Environmental Chemical Corporation to arrange a free flight from Baghdad to Jordan. She also scheduled everything with the hospital in Amman and the free services of a Jordanian dentist who provided some necessary dental care.
This one person has arranged 61 Iraqi children to receive lifesaving surgery ... wow! That's what Americans are all about, and we helped Dalal's smile with some free dental care as well.
U.S. special operations forces played a major role in ensuring Dalal and her father could make the trip to Jordan.
“We assisted them in getting the new Iraqi G-series passports to travel out of the country,” Murtaugh said. “Our special operations task unit coordinated a flight from their hometown to Al Asad (Air Base), and we worked with the Combined Joint Special Operations Air Command to fly them from Al Asad to Baghdad. Another team member and I escorted the family to Baghdad, and we stayed with them until they departed to ensure there were no problems. Everyone was extremely helpful and provided us with excellent support throughout.”
So what does Dalal's family have to say about all of this?
“We appreciate that they (the Americans) care about us,” Dalal’s father, whose name was withheld to protect his identity, said through an interpreter. “I know you are here doing another job, and I am thankful for all you do. This is an unforgettable thing what you are doing for my family, and we cannot thank you enough for your help.”
The last story today outlines the compassion of US troops even when it is not a life or death situation.
Army News Service:
Before she deployed, Spc. Diana Sokol listened to Soldiers tell stories about how Iraqi children asked them for soccer balls and other items. She saw photos of kids in the city with virtually nothing but the clothes on their back, and she knew she would take action once deployed.
So when arrived in Iraq with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, the medic started a goodwill mission of securing soccer balls and other toys for Iraqi children.
"There is more than just fighting a war," she said. "We are supposed to help the Iraqis while we are here, as well."
To date, Spc. Sokol has distributed more than 300 soccer balls and 500 stuffed animals to children within the Strike Force Brigade's area of operation. And she she's far from being finished.
"Americans are very generous and would often send gift boxes of supplies to me, which I really appreciate," she said. "But how many bars of soap and toothpaste can you use on one deployment?"
Spc. Sokol started asking friends and family to send toys for the children instead. By word of mouth, information spread through her family, friends and their co-workers, and more people started to donate. One friend, who works at Texas Instruments, started a toy drive to collect more than 500 soccer balls, the biggest one-time donation to date.
Several other small businesses, such as soccer shops, along with individual donations, also helped, she said. Beanie Babies Ambassadors donated 300 stuffed animals, turning Spc. Sokol's room into a small warehouse.
"I will continue to give out toys for as long as I am here and hopefully someone else will continue," Spc. Sokol said. "Now, units come to me before going out on missions asking for toys and soccer balls for the kids.
Hearts and minds people ... hearts and minds.