U.S. Forces, Kuwaiti Government fight to save Iraqi boy's arm

27 Nov 2007 | Army Spc. Bronwyn M. Meyer

A young Iraqi boy's carefree days of youth came to a crashing halt when on April 1 combat between the Iraqis and coalition forces spilled into his neighborhood and ordinance smashed through his house, crushing his left arm. 

Now the fate of young Montazer's arm rests in the hands of coalition forces and the Kuwaiti government who are fighting to save the boy's badly injured arm. 

Montazer's family tried to find medical treatment for the little boy, but the dilapidated and looted Iraqi hospitals could not treat his extensive injury.  Desperate to find help the family turned to an American Marine.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 William W. Green, embark officer and Police Director for the Wasit province, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marines, works with the Iraqi police officers in Al Kut.  Green's driver, an Iraqi policeman, came to him for help because the driver's young cousin Montazer was injured and the local hospital was not able to provide treatment. 

"His left arm from his bicep to his forearm was completely shattered," said Green. "The local hospitals here in Al Kut don't have the facilities, technology, capabilities, or medication to treat injuries this severe."

Green had to act quickly because Montazer might lose his arm if treatment was delayed. He coordinated with Army and Marine Corps civil affairs to bring the boy back to Kuwait for medical treatment.

Within a few short days Montazer and his family were flown to Kuwait on a KC-130 by Marine Aerial Refueling Transport Squadron 234.

Montazer is staying at the 47th Combat Support Hospital with his father where he is receiving medical care until he can be taken to a Kuwaiti hospital for treatment, said Makram Hanna, a civilian contracted by the Department of Defense as a linguist at the 47th CSH.

The Kuwaiti and Iraqi people, once pitted against each other by Saddam's regime, are now brothers in the bonds of religion and heritage. 

"We're still brothers, we still [have] blood ties, we still have history together," said Kuwaiti Lt. Col. Faisal Al-Tannak, Humanitarian Operations Center chief of logistics.

Since the regime's downfall, the Kuwaiti government has used its resources to help the Iraqi people in their time of need.

"The Kuwaiti government took on the responsibility and made it a policy to help the Iraqi people," said Kuwaiti Lt. Gen. Ali Al-Mumin, Chief of the HOC.

The Kuwaiti hospital is evaluating whether or not they can help Mantazer, said Mohammad Al-Saffar, a Kuwaiti paramedic with the Ministry of Health Department of Emergency Medical Services. 

"Because of his condition [the Kuwaiti hospital] does not know if they will be able to help him," said Hanna. If the Kuwaitis are not able to help, another country may be able to treat Montazer, said Al-Saffar.

"If it doesn't get properly treated he might lose his arm," said Al-Saffar.

Green, the Marine who started the fight to save Montazer's arm, wants nothing more than a full recovery for the little boy.

"He has suffered a lot of damage and a lot of pain but he is a very strong little man," he said. 

"One day I want to see [your] son be able to throw a football with that left arm," Green told Montazer's father before the family left for Kuwait.