Gung Ho!

Main Entry: gung ho Pronunciation: 'g&[ng]-'hOFunction: adjective Etymology: Gung ho!, motto (interpreted as meaning "work together") adopted by certain U.S. marines, from Chinese (Beijing) gOnghé, short for ZhOngguó GOngyè Hézuò Shè Chinese Industrial Cooperative Society: extremely or overly zealous or enthusiastic

Gung Ho!
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Gung Ho!
And The Cost of War In Lives!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Suicide Bomber Strikes in Iraq, Kills Several Americans, Iraqis

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2005 – A suicide bomber killed one Task Force Liberty soldier, one U.S. civilian, and five Iraqis in Baqubah, Iraq, at 12:50 p.m. today. Nine U.S. soldiers and several Iraqis were wounded.

The attack occurred in the Diyala Provincial Joint Coordination Center. One U.S. civilian contractor, four Iraqi employees of the center, and one Iraqi police officer died in the attack.

Nine Task Force Liberty soldiers were wounded, along with one U.S. civilian contractor, six Iraqi civilians, and four Iraqi police officers. All the wounded were evacuated to a coalition forces medical treatment facility, officials announced. Two of the wounded soldiers have been returned to duty.

Semper Fi


At 11:43 AM, Anonymous SPC C. Flowers said...

I just wanted to let readers know that the CENTCOM website (, which Carl was kind enough to link here, is being updated to include the latest news and photos from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Please come visit.

Here are some of the newest press releases on the site:

Iraqi, AF C-130 crew flies boy to receive heart surgery

By Tech. Sgt. Melissa Phillips 407th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs

Ali Base, Iraq -- Although Baher, 8, looks like a happy, healthy boy on the outside, the joint Iraqi and U.S. Air Force C-130 aircrew, who gave him the ride of his life Aug. 22, knows he isn’t healthy - at least for now.

Baher and his mother, Afaf, are headed to New Orleans, La., to repair a hole in his heart via a new program called Operation Mend a Heart.

“I was very happy to (be a part of the aircrew to) help him,” said Iraqi Air Force Navigator Atiya, Squadron 23 (Transport), whose name is protected.

Atiya was one the C-130 crewmembers who flew Baher from Baghdad International Airport to Basrah Air Station on the first leg of his journey.

He has reason to sympathize.

“I have three boys myself,” said Atiya, who held Baher on his lap to show him the airplane’s control panel. “They’re 11, 10 and 5.”

From Basrah, Humanitarian Operation Center (Kuwait) Army Civil Affairs were waiting to whisk the family to Kuwait to pick up the proper visas and paperwork.

Later in the week, the mother and son are to board a plane headed for their ultimate destination - Tulane University and Hospital Clinic where Baher will receive surgery to correct a congenital heart defect.

The $100,000 surgery, which is donated by TUHC, was facilitated through Operation Mend a Heart - a joint effort between TUHC, the U.S. military and Coalition forces.

More than 10 different U.S. and Coalition military and civilian agencies will have their hand in getting Baher to TUHC doctors to perform the life-saving surgery.

“Let’s just say, it’s a network of inspired people,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Mark N. Matthews, Sr., 90th Regional Readiness Command, Camp Pike, Little Rock, Ark., who was in Southwest Asia in January 2005, where he helped facilitate intra-theater airlift and began dreaming of ways to help Iraqi children with heart problems.

Matthews knew about the Iraqi Air Force and heard they wanted to help. So even though he currently isn’t in the Middle East, he helped smooth over the logistical bumps and get a hold of the right people to involve Squadron 23 Airmen.

Although the airlift portion of the trip the Ali Base C-130 aircrew flew was short, it left a lasting impression.

“This was the first (Advisory Support Team) mission that flew humanitarian airlift for their country,” said Maj. Bob May, Squadron 23 AST pilot instructor who is assigned to the 777th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron here.

“It was a great feeling being able to do this together with so many Iraqi crewmembers on board,” he added.

May was the copilot and an Iraqi officer piloted the aircraft.

“I got to share some of my wife’s homemade chocolate chip cookies with him,” said Major May, who is deployed from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.

At the end of the trip, the U.S. crewmembers asked one of the Iraqis to translate their well-wishes to the mother and son.

“We asked the translator to tell them it was an honor for us to be able to help him,” said Major May, whose son is Baher’s age.

He also has two more reasons to sympathize with the concerned mother: his children, ages 6 and 3, who are anxiously waiting for him to come home from his six-month deployment as a C-130 instructor to Iraqi Airmen here.

“When Baher and his mother were driving away, they were all big smiles,” said Major May. “It’s good to know you’re making an impact and doing something good for other people.”

That same spirit of kindness is what moved Matthews, who started the seeds for the idea of the organization, while helping an Iraqi 5-year-old girl named Noor get airlift to Kuwait a Japanese aircraft earlier this year.

The story reached wide acclaim and recognition through the recently-deceased reporter Peter Jennings.

“On a phone call home, I described how humbled I was to have been a part of helping Noor,” Matthews said. Later, the organization came up with the phrase ‘You must have a heart, to save a heart.’”

The fever for the program snowballed until it involved a long list of supporters, to include U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.

“The people behind Operation Mend a Heart understand that one way we can support our troops is by supporting the people they are fighting for, the children of Iraq,” said Landrieu in a press release.

“Operation Mend a Heart will help provide the humanitarian medical assistance to the underprivileged children of Iraq who would otherwise not have access to the pediatric medical and surgical care they need,” she said.

During the expected four-week recovery period after the surgery, an Iraqi professor at the TUHC will host the mother and son. They’re expected to return to Iraq sometime in October.

For many of those involved, the intense logistical coordination required by U.S. and Coalition military personnel is indicative of a key role that the military plays in Operation Iraqi Freedom, but is often downplayed in the news.

“Most Americans think of our military in combat roles,” said Operation Mend a Heart program founder Karen Troyer-Caraway and vice president of TUHC.

“Many Americans do not realize that our military mission also includes humanitarian assistance, rebuilding communities and investing in the future. Operation Mend a Heart is ordinary Americans helping the U.S. military accomplish their mission.”

The mission is immense, and involves the lives of many caught in the struggle between the insurgency and the hardworking people of Iraq.

Sadly, Atiya says he knows of many children in Iraq in need of healthcare. In fact, his cousin’s child is 11 and has leg and eyes problems that prevent him from attending school.

“I want all babies to be healthy and happy, and I was very happy to be a part of helping another Iraqi get healthy,” said Atiya. “I want to thank the American people for all the help they gave this child.”

Military doctor patches up 8-year-old Afghani girl’s heart


BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Karishma tried to be like any other eight year old, running and playing with boundless energy, but for her, there was an end to the energy.

She could never have had a normal, long life because of heart problems – until a year ago.

Two U.S. Special Forces medical personnel, a medical sergeant and doctor, crossed paths with Karishma in September 2004 ultimately leading up to a successful lifesaving closed-heart surgery performed Aug. 14 by Dr. (Maj.) Michael Myers, a cardiothoracic surgeon stationed at the Bagram Airfield hospital.

“The surgery went extremely well,” the surgeon said. “She is a strong little girl. She will live a long, happy, healthy life.”

Karishma was three months old when her family found out she had heart problems from a doctor in Peshawar , Pakistan . They diagnosed her with Ventricular Septal Defect -- a hole in the heart’s wall -- a type of heart malfunction present at birth.

&nbssp; Seven years later, village elders introduced her father, Abdula, to the Special Operations Forces medical sergeant and doctor. They had been conducting sick-call near Jalalabad in September 2004.

“I told Abdula that I could not treat Karishma, but I would do some research on the Internet about the problem and asked him to return a few days later,” said the SOF medical sergeant. “I researched the condition and found three non-profit organizations that could help. The same day I received a response from the Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Browns Mills, N.J., offering to perform the surgery free for the family through a program called ‘Children of the World Program.’”

The Deborah Heart and Lung Center reviewed Karishma’s charts and made a final diagnosis that she had Patent Ductus Arteriosus, where a part of her aorta did not close and develop after birth.

Everything was set for Karishma and her mother to travel to New Jersey for the operation. The entire trip and operation would be free of charge for the family. But, things took another turn.

Almost a year after initially seeing Karishma in Jalalabad, the SOF doctor overheard Dr. Myers saying he had done a similar surgery. He asked Dr. Myers if he would like to do another. The SOF doctor relayed this information to his medical sergeant. The sergeant later learned that Myers had actually performed the same surgery on another patient about a week earlier.

“I told Dr. Myers about Karishma and asked him if he was interested in doing another one, and he said, ‘Sure, why not’,” the SOF doctor said. The family learned of Myers’ ability and willingness to perform the surgery at Bagram. They joyfully accepted the offer.

Abdula, who is a tailor with five sons and five daughters, could have never afforded the operation.

“I am very happy and very thankful to the Americans for helping Karishma,” Abdula said.

“She is very playful and energetic, she just gets tired real easy,” said the SOF doctor.

Karishma is currently in recovery at Bagram and expected to return home within a week.


Aug. 24, 2005
Release # 050824-03

Tripartite Commission meets in Islamabad

Islamabad , Pakistan — The Tripartite Commission, comprised of senior military and diplomatic representatives from Afghanistan , Pakistan and the United States , held its 12th meeting in Rawalpindi , Pakistan today.
This meeting was the first in which Afghanistan and Pakistan were represented at the four-star general level. Delegates included Gen. Bismullah Khan, Chief of the General Staff of the Afghan National Army; Gen. Ahsan Saleem Hyat, Vice-Chief of the Army Staff of the Pakistan Army; and Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, Commander, Combined Forces Command–Afghanistan.
The session began with a series of briefings focused on enhancing regional stability and furthering security measures taken by Afghanistan , Pakistan and the Coalition in advance of the Afghan National Assembly and Provincial Council Elections on Sept. 18, 2005. The parties noted recent improvements in cooperation and information-sharing and reaffirmed their commitment to enduring operations against Al-Qaeda and associated militants.
During the plenary session, the parties agreed that the participation of Generals Bismullah Khan and Ahsan Saleem Hyat signified an important step toward enhancing strategic dialogue and understanding between Afghanistan and Pakistan . Gen. Bismullah Khan, Gen. Ahsan Saleem Hyat, and Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry met separately following the conclusion of the plenary session.
The delegates examined ways to deepen their level of military-to-military relationship in the interest of long-term regional stability. All parties noted the significance of the first bilateral Afghan-Pakistani staff exchanges, which took place July 14, 2005, in Kabul and Aug. 9, 2005, in Islamabad .
This plenary session was also significant in that representatives of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force attended the session as observers. All parties welcomed the NATO/ISAF observers and look forward to their participation in the future meetings given ISAF/NATO’s expanding role in Afghanistan.
The Tripartite Commission will meet again in October 2005.



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