/*********************************************** * Chrome CSS Drop Down Menu- (c) Dynamic Drive DHTML code library (www.dynamicdrive.com) * This notice MUST stay intact for legal use * Visit Dynamic Drive at http://www.dynamicdrive.com/ for full source code ***********************************************/
Minnesota National Guard
An Iraqi girl, a Minneapolis firefighter, and a smile that can make you cry

When the little girl smiled, Katherine Baumtrog almost cried

Asmaa, a 10-year-old Iraqi girl, and Baumtrog, a Minneapolis firefighter and a member of the Minnesota National Guard, were reunited at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester last month They were able to do simple things together, things that once had seemed impossible to imagine

"I brushed her hair and put barrettes in it,'' said Baumtrog, "and we painted our fingernails red  Just girl things We talked and smiled''

Baumtrog and Asmaa first met in horrid circumstances three years ago The child's father had brought Asmaa, badly burned in a house fire, to a remote place called the Smith Gate Clinic outside the perimeter of a US military outpost 60 miles south of Baghdad

Burn clinic serves up to 50 children, desperate families
The clinic, which in fact was a one-room trailer, was the only burn clinic for children in Iraq It was headed by Craig Lambrecht, a Bismarck physician and a colonel in the North Dakota National Guard, and staffed by medics from the Minnesota National Guard, including Baumtrog, a sergeant On a daily basis, there were anywhere from five to 50 children and their desperate families waiting in the hot sun for help

"The Iraqi people love Americans,'' said Baumtrog "They think we can do anything But sometimes, their expectations aren't realistic''

There were too many days that children had to be turned away because of meager supplies at Smith Gate So Lambrecht went about the business of arranging for more supplies by calling on the good will of the people of Minnesota and North Dakota He set up a foundation at his employer back home in Bismarck, Medcenter One Health System Donations of needed supplies and money poured in (The foundation still functions It can be reached here)

Though the Minnesotans and Lambrecht came home last summer, the clinic lives on, taken over by replacement troops And neither Lambrecht nor the Minnesotans could really ever walk away from those kids

Lambrecht, medical director at Medcenter One, husband, father of five, still finds time to help cut red tape so that the most needy patients from Smith Gate can get life-saving medical care in the United States

To date, four Iraqi kids have been brought to the United States for medical treatment, thanks to Lambrecht's persistence and a lot of good America will

Asmaa and her father arrived in Minnesota earlier this month, getting a free lift from Northwest Airlines The extensive surgeries she is receiving, at no cost, at Mayo Clinic slowly are giving her something resembling a full life

Because it had taken six months before her father could get her to Smith Gate, the help Lambrecht and medics could give Asmaa three years ago was limited Untreated, natural healing of burned skin scars and tightens  The process had pulled down Asmaa's lower lip, so she couldn't speak and had difficulty eating  Smiling was both physically and emotionally out of the question The untreated healing of the burns  also had tightened the skin on her arms, so that her arm bones were pulled over her hands Her body was so badly burned and scarred she couldn't sit up

In normal circumstances, Asmaa would have been scarred but not so twisted by her injuries But normal circumstances don't exist in Iraq She could not get the medical care she need immediately after the awful fire

Domestic fires one of the unintended consequences of war
It should be noted that the vast majority of children served by Smith Gate have not been direct victims of war But domestic fires and the burns that come with them can be unintended consequences of war A common cause of the fires is that many Iraqis are using open fires — fueled by kerosene — for cooking and heating because normal power sources are not available

It also should be noted that the burn clinic was not the primary responsibility of either Lambrecht or the medics Their first obligation was to the troops of the 1st Battalon, 125th Field Artillery Regiment, which usually is headquartered in New Ulm Those troops were responsible for providing security to truck convoys passing on remote road to and from Baghdad

But the children and their parents were an emotionally powerful constant Any precious time off from regular duty saw most of the medics in the clinic

No one, says Lambrecht, devoted more of her sweat and tears to the clinic than Baumtrog

"The heart and soul of Smith Gate,'' said Lambrecht

Baumtrog brushes off that praise, saying that all of the medics poured themselves into the clinic work  The "heart and soul" of the clinic, she said, were children like Asmaa and her father

"If there are any heroes here, it is people like her father,'' said Baumtrog "The love he has for his daughter is beyond any words I have''

The surgeons at Mayo also are doing "heroic'' work, according to Baumtrog Asmaa now can sit up She has partial use of one hand, and her lower lip has been re-constructed so that she can speak, eat — and smile

"Her lip makes her look like Angelina Jolie,'' said Baumtrog

Baumtrog has made two trips to Mayo since Asmaa's arrival At first, the child didn't recognize Baumtrog in her civilian attire

"I said, 'It's me, Katherine,' '' said Baumtrog "She kept looking at me and then she smiled''

And that's when Baumtrog almost cried

"She's so strong,'' said Baumtrog "She has a beautiful soul''

They did those sweet, simple girl things, and on a second trip, Baumtrog and Asmaa even took a day trip, Asmaa's first away from the hospital They dined at a Mideast restaurant in Rochester They stopped at a Barnes & Noble and moved on to an arcade, where Asmaa was able to use her one good hand to play games

Dan Ford and Ryan Marti, other medics from the Guard, also have made the trip to Rochester

"It's very powerful,'' said Baumtrog "We never thought we'd see our patients again''

And certainly, they thought they'd never see Asmaa smile

By Doug Grow
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Article source: www.minnpost.com

Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

Forging a path to career success

Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
Col. Angela Steward-Randle ST. PAUL, Minn. - Col. Angela Steward-Randle grew up in a military family - her father served in the Army on active duty - but it was a chance encounter with a friend at college that led her to want to make the military a career.

"My story is no different than many others," Steward-Randle, the Director of Human Resources, Manpower and Personnel for the Minnesota National Guard said. "I was in college and looking for financial resources to help pay for it."

Her college friend suggested they attend a summer training with the Reserve Officer Training Corps that had no obligation and could earn them some money. The friend never ended up going, but Steward-Randle did. After earning recognition as the top honor graduate and receiving an offer of a scholarship, she was hooked.

Minnesota Guardsman Receives Award for Combating Drugs in his Community

Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
Counterdrug WOODBURY, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kroll, an analyst with the Minnesota National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force who is assigned to work with the Hennepin County Sherriff's Office was recognized for his achievements as the Analyst of the Year during the 2018 Minnesota Association of Crime and Intelligence Analysts Training Symposium in Woodbury, Minnesota, March 7, 2018.

Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

Kroll is one of sixteen service members on the Counterdrug Task Force that provides this force-multiplying service to our communities against illicit drug-use. With the information that law enforcement provide through their patrols and daily operations, Kroll and his colleagues across the state assist by putting together a figurative picture with all of the gathered information which aids in identifying how to move forward with legal action to deter or prevent the sale or use of illegal narcotic drugs.

Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - "The battlefront is no place for women to be," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Kurtzweg, 125th Field Artillery, in an article published in 1976. "There are certain jobs girls say they can do, but they just can't do ... the battlefront is no place for women to be. Other countries in the world use women in combat, but the U.S. has not come around to that way of thinking." Kathy Berg, a New Ulm reporter summarized at the time. "So women in the New Ulm unit take care of personnel files and pay records and leave the fighting to the men."

The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

When an accomplished female Soldier is credited with breaking barriers she will often pass that honor to the women that preceded her. Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne is such a leader. She acknowledges that she is one of the first females in the Minnesota National Guard who has held key leadership roles, however she sees it differently. "I feel responsible for all women in uniform," said Clyborne. "Women before me opened the door, now I've cleared the room. It's up to the women behind me to hold the room."

Securing the Bold North: Minnesota National Guard supports Super Bowl LII

Posted: 2018-02-02  10:45 PM
Super Bowl 52 MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - More than 400 Minnesota National Guardsmen are supporting security efforts in Minneapolis ahead of Super Bowl 52.

"This is what we do," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "When the local community can't meet the public safety needs, they come to the Guard. We're their normal partner, we're a natural partner, and we're their preferred partner when it comes to filling in the gaps that they can't fill."

At the request of the city, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton authorized the Minnesota National Guard to provide support to security efforts leading up to and during Super Bowl 52. The Guardsmen are providing direct support to and working alongside law enforcement officers from across the state. Like their civilian law enforcement partners, Minnesota Guardsmen are focused on ensuring a safe experience for the residents and visitors who are attending the Super Bowl festivities.

Article archive