Soldiers load an Iraqi teenager injured by an improvised explosive device onto a medical evacuation helicopter near Kirkuk, Iraq, March 27, 2008. (U.S. Army photo)
KIRKUK, Iraq (March 30, 2008) — On his way home from working in his family’s field near this Iraqi city, Rahmey didn’t see the hidden improvised explosive device until it was too late.
Soldiers and U.S. soldiers load an Iraqi teenager injured by an improvised explosive device onto a medical evacuation helicopter near Kirkuk, Iraq, March 27, 2008. The soldiers are assigned to the 10th Mountain Division’s Company C, 2nd Battalion, 1st Aviation Brigade.
Staggering for home after the blast, the 13-year-old Iraqi boy had no way to know that his life would be saved by the quick, selfless actions of U.S. Army soldiers and U.S. Air Force airmen March 27.
“I heard and saw the explosion from my window,” said Arif Muter Jarew, Rahmey’s father.
It wasn’t long before his son stumbled in with shrapnel wounds riddling his knee, leg and chest.
“I was panicked, there was blood coming from his mouth,” Jarew said. “My son was dying. He had blood everywhere.”
The hospital was miles away and the desperate father didn’t think his vehicle would make it. With his son in his arms, he ran out to the street to flag down passing motorists for help.
“Then I saw a convoy of American Soldiers,” he said. Jarew was a little wary of asking for help from Coalition forces. With his dying son in his arms, he only hesitated a moment – his son’s life was at stake.
“We saw some Iraqis waving us to stop and one was cradling a kid,” said Pfc. Jeffrey Parson of the 10th Mountain Division’s 1st Brigade. Parson and Pvt. Justin Avila, the patrol’s medic, began treating what they initially thought were gunshot wounds.
“There was blood coming from the kid’s mouth and his wounds, so we treated the bleeding first,” Parson said.
The patrol radioed Forward Operating Base McHenry in the Hawijah district of Tamim province. A medical evacuation helicopter arrived a few precious minutes after receiving the call to transport Rahmey and his father to the forward operating base. After medics stabilized Rahmey’s condition, he was transported along with his father to the medical facility in Kirkuk. U.S. Army and Air Force medics treated Rahmey for shrapnel wounds at the Freedom Hospital.
“He’s a very lucky boy,” said Air Force Capt. Gabriel Rulewicz, a military surgeon. “He’ll need some surgery to remove the shrapnel, but we’ve stabilized him for transport to a hospital in Kirkuk.”
The Air Force surgeon credits Rahmey’s survival to the quick reaction by everyone involved.
“It is a perfect ending to what could have quickly resulted in the opposite,” Rulewicz said.
But to one Iraqi father, this ending was more than perfect. “I did not know how caring U.S. Soldiers are. I could not believe how well they treated my son and me,” Jarew said. “I am so thankful to everyone who saved my son’s life.”