AFGHANISTAN -- Two young Afghan children were released from the Joint Theater Hospital after receiving treatment for injuries they sustained in a Taliban suicide bombing attack November 22.
Upon their discharge from the hospital they were greeted with smiles and gifts from the Georgian Liaison Team, a joint U.S. Marine and Georgian Army patrol team who also experienced the blast and are the key reason they survived.
Following the explosion, both the U.S. Marines and Georgians quickly moved to secure the area and then provide the much needed aid.
“Myself, Doc [HM2 Michael McNeely] and Rosa [SSgt. Casey Rosa] ran to the spot where Sergeant [Patrick] Russell, who was on the gun, was directing us to,” said U.S. Marine 1st Lt. Nicholas Sutton, the Bravo Company Team Leader. “We just grabbed and dragged the kids to a central location for treatment.”
“There were a lot of kids out there, about 15,” McNeely added. “We collectively just started grabbing the kids and pulling them out.”
The team was able to pull four injured children to a safe area and render life-saving care to them. Russell, who is well-trained in combat life-saving procedures, exchanged places with another team member and assisted with the treatment.
Russell credits their training for the reason as to why they were able to so smoothly react to the incident and get the kids to Bagram Airfield and to the Joint Theater Hospital. “That and the preparations that before we start out on a patrol really helped us save those kids lives.”
Rosa agreed adding that “there was no discussion out there. Everyone knew their job and they did it.”
It is a job that the family of the children are incredible thankful and appreciative.
“All of my family is very thankful for what they did,” said Gulzman, the older brother of the two children released. “There were more children at the site but they could not reach all of them. I’m happy they were able to reach my brothers, and that they are walking right now.”
That is a stark contrast of how they felt when they learned of the blast.
“When the blast happened,” Gulzman explained, “we were scared the kids were dead or injured badly.”
The boys were treated for seven days and then transported home with the assistance of the Afghan Army. One of the four injured boys remains at Joint Theater Hospital, and sadly the other did not survive his wounds. It is a sad reminder of the atrocities the Taliban routinely inflict on the Afghan people.
“The path they [the Taliban] choose is the wrong path,” Gulzman said in a calm voice. “They don’t gain anything accept ruin their own country and their own children.”