/*********************************************** * 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 ***********************************************/
History
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

Red Bulls Kickoff Division Warfighter

Posted: 2018-06-13  01:38 PM
DIV WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - "A Warfighter is an exercise that allows the Division to evaluate their ability to maneuver assets in a battle," said Master Sgt. Greg Weaver, the Operations Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge for the Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion. "It is designed to focus on particular areas and specific objectives to be evaluated or tested."

The Division has geared its' planning and training efforts in preparation for Warfighter since July 2017. Coordinating transportation for Soldiers and equipment was often on the mind of Maj. David Johansson, the logistics officer for the 34th ID. With the coordination of Johansson and his team, troops and equipment all converged on Camp Atterbury, enlisting the help of 89 railcars, 280 tractor-trailers, and nearly 50 buses for the movement.

"I like to say my job is to 'quiet the noise'". Johansson continued, "The noise being a real life logistical problem that could impede the exercise."



Minnesota-based aviation unit takes part in Warfighter Exercise

Posted: 2018-06-08  11:59 AM
34ECAB WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - More than 150 Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade are here participating in a multi-echelon training event, Warfighter Exercise 18-5, May 30 to June 15.

The exercise, which is part live and part virtual, is testing the St. Paul, Minnesota-based aviation unit's ability to conduct operations and mission command in a high-intensity, complex operating environment. Soldiers are being challenged to take decisive action as they focus on air-ground operations -- or synchronizing and integrating aviation operations into the scheme of maneuver planned and conducted by forces on the ground.

In this case, the units on the ground are being commanded by the Rosemount, Minnesota-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, which is also participating in the exercise.



148th Fighter Wing hosts STEM program for Duluth-area students

Posted: 2018-06-05  08:52 AM
Starbase Duluth DULUTH, Minn. - Dozens of community and industry leaders passionate about helping children become more engaged in science, technology, engineering and math gathered at the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth, Minn., May 24, 2018, to see what STARBASE Minnesota Duluth is doing for young students in the area.

STARBASE is a Department of Defense youth program that engages students in STEM studies. The program began in 1991, and STARBASE Minnesota was founded in 1993 in St. Paul, which expanded to Duluth in July 2017.

Currently, the school program is open to fifth-grade students, said Charity S. Rupp, the director of STARBASE Minnesota Duluth. The summer camp will serve students in 4-6th grade. Eventually, she hopes the program will expand into STARBASE 2.0 to serve middle school students as an after school program during the academic school year.



Minnesota National Guard leaders visit traveling tribute in Austin

Posted: 2018-05-22  10:16 AM
Traveling Wall AUSTIN, Minn. - A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was on display May 16-20, in Austin and leaders of the 347th Regional Support Group took the opportunity to visit during the event's closing ceremony.

The display, dubbed the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, was hosted by Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Austin and featured a near-replica of the memorial in Washington, D.C.

"It was an honor to be part of this humbling and moving tribute to our Vietnam veterans," said Col. Stephen Schemenauer. "The traveling Vietnam Wall is a powerful display, and this event provided an opportunity to meet, and thank, service members from WWII to present-day conflicts. Regardless of their branch of service, or the era or conflict in which they served, we all share a common bond."



Article archive
 
top