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UNSUNG HEROES: The Fallen Corpsman Who Took On A Special Mission To Save An Infant
In late June 2006, a routine insurgent patrol in Fallujah’s Anbar province turned into a different mission for Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Walsh.
A hidden bomb went off during the sweep and Walsh, along with the rest of his platoon, set off to find the triggerman by going door to door in the nearest village.
From one of the houses, a woman emerged carrying an infant, alerting the Marines that she had a sick baby.
The child, known as “baby Mariam,” was born with a rare intestinal abnormality, called bladder exstrophy, where her bladder had developed outside of her body.
Though he had served as an EMT in his hometown of St. Louis, Walsh had never seen anything like this. He and the division took photos to send back to their base to determine how serious the condition was, and what needed to be done to save her life.
They knew she would need the kind of treatment that wasn’t available in her small village. Walsh decided right then that his new mission was to save baby Mariam, and his platoon — the 3rd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment — vowed to help.
Each week when after dark, Walsh and a dozen Marines would drive Humvees within a mile of Mariam’s home, and walk there to treat a dangerous infection that could kill her.
According to the San Diego Tribune, Walsh told her family, who spoke no English but seemed to understand, “We're going to get her the help she needs.”
In the meantime, Capt. Sean Donovan, a doctor assigned to 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, attempted to find a way to get Mariam out of Fallujah for a life-saving surgery. He finally managed to make contact with St. Mary's Church in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, which helped Donovan connect with 16 companies that offered to pay for her trip.
Donovan then enlisted the help of Dr. Rafael Pieretti, a Venezuelan surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital who specialized in the condition, and offered to perform the surgery pro-bono.
The only issue then was whether or not the team could keep Mariam alive long enough to make it to Massachusetts. She was one among thousands of Iraqis in need of transport and medical care.
Unfortunately, during another routine patrol on Sept. 4, Walsh’s Humvee encountered a roadside bomb that killed him and two other team members.
With their deployment nearly over, the remaining Marines decided the best tribute to their fallen comrades would be to ensure that baby Mariam survived.
That October, Mariam was flown to Boston.
When she and her grandparents — who went in her mother’s stead — were finally approved to go to the United States, Donovan sent a letter to Walsh's mother Maureen, who had no prior knowledge about the baby or her son’s role in saving her life.
Maureen got on a plane and flew to Boston, knowing she had to see Mariam.
“It made me feel like Chris was there,” she told ABC News. “He wanted something like this. He wanted to make a difference in somebody's life.”
The surgery was a success, and a malnourished Mariam gained two pounds shortly after recovering.
In the hospital, Maureen was able to hold Mariam, whose grandparents thanked her in Arabic for her son.
“There were too many coincidences for it to be coincidence,” she said. “Chris was waiting his whole life for something like this.”
Turkish government hackers are believed to be behind a wave of cyberattacks in Europe and the Middle East
LONDON (Reuters) - Sweeping cyberattacks targeting governments and other organizations in Europe and the Middle East are believed to be the work of hackers acting in the interests of the Turkish government, three senior Western security officials said.
The hackers have attacked at least 30 organizations, including government ministries, embassies and security services as well as companies and other groups, according to a Reuters review of public internet records. Victims have included Cypriot and Greek government email services and the Iraqi government's national security advisor, the records show.
The attacks involve intercepting internet traffic to victim websites, potentially enabling hackers to obtain illicit access to the networks of government bodies and other organizations.
According to two British officials and one U.S. official, the activity bears the hallmarks of a state-backed cyber espionage operation conducted to advance Turkish interests.
A U.S. E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node aircraft crashed on Monday on Afghanistan, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein has confirmed.
Beloved basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven other people were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday. Two days earlier, Army Spc. Antonio I. Moore was killed during a vehicle rollover accident while conducting route clearing operations in Syria.
Which one more deserves your grief and mourning? According to Maj. Gen. John R. Evans, commander of the U.S. Army Cadet Command, you only have enough energy for one.
One person was injured by Sunday's rocket attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Task & Purpose was learned. The injury was described as mild and no one was medically evacuated from the embassy following the attack.
The U.S. military dropped more munitions on targets across Afghanistan in 2019 than during any other year stretching back to at least 2009, according to Air Force data.