NEAR KARMAH, Iraq --
Tears flowed openly this morning when a local father was reunited with his son following a dramatic rescue by Marines from Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines. During a tribal dispute July 16, the boy, Hamum, 4, suffered a 7.62mm gunshot wound to the stomach.
Marines from Weapons Company happened to be in the area conducting a counter-insurgency “knock-and-talk” patrol when a suspicious vehicle was spotted traveling at a high rate of speed toward their position. The vehicle was flagged down and a woman emerged, bleeding from her leg, carrying Hamum.
Sergeant Daniel Hansen, the on-scene commander, said the sight was disturbing.
“This woman was carrying this kid who was holding his own guts in,” Hansen recalled. “The thing that shocked me most was that he wasn’t crying or anything. He just looked at me like ‘who the (expletive) are you?’”
Company Corpsmen HM3 Christopher Begger and HN Lyle Chandler assessed the injuries and requested an immediate medical evacuation for the boy. Air was not an option, and the close proximity to Combat Outpost Golden allowed the Marines to take Hamum by vehicle to the base. The woman was treated on scene.
“The Doc said he was stable, but he started getting worse, throwing up and having respiratory problems,” Hansen said.
After a follow-on assessment at Golden, the boy was evacuated by air to the Camp Al Asad Surgical Center and treated for his injury. All the while, Battalion staff at Combat Outpost Golden kept in close contact with Hamum’s parents, assuring them every step of the way.
“His parents were coming to the gate every other day,” said 1st Lt. Charles “Chuck” Morris, a BLT 3/1 infantry officer. “They would drive up to (Entry Control Point) One and we’d come out with an interpreter. They kept asking ‘How’s my son? Where is my son? Is my son alive?’ And we gave them all the information we could.”
Finally, on July 25, the boy had stabilized enough to return home. He was brought to COP Golden and stayed the night under the watchful eyes of BLT medical staff. At approximately 6:30 a.m. today, Hamum and his parents were reunited.
“It was very heartwarming,” said Morris, who supervised the sunrise event. “Everyone was crying.”
For the heroes of Battalion Landing Team 3/1, it was just another action in the line of duty. Hamum’s father said it was a life changing ordeal.
“Right now I have the feeling of any father who has seen his son in danger and survive. It was very serious,” he said. “Thank you, thank you for saving his life.”
Hamum’s father said he plans to celebrate the occasion by slaughtering a sheep and having a barbecue, giving praise to God.
“Thank God my son is safe.”
For more information about the heroes of Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, visit the Unit’s Web site athttp://www.usmc.mil/13thmeu.