New army sling
Pfc. Jason Haselgard checks the positioning of the bandage he is using to make a new sling for 11-year-old Jasam, a student Al Azim School, in the Al Warkaa District of Muthanna Province in southern Iraq.

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq (Army News Service, Dec. 28, 2009) -- The child looked about 11 years old, standing confidently with his friends despite an arm cast loosely supported by a piece of rope draped around his neck.

His name was Jasam Abdameer, and he was a 4th grader at Al Azim School, in the Al Warkaa District of Muthanna Province in southern Iraq.

Pfc. Jason Haselgard, a medic assigned with 2nd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment (Task Force 2-29), took immediate notice of Jasam while his platoon was visiting the school to check on the progress being made on the renovation, one of the 11 projects for which the platoon provides site management.

With help from his interpreter, Dimitri, Haselgard inquired about the 4th grader's injury. The boy said he fell outside his house and hurt his forearm. Haselgard told Jasam he was a trained medic and asked him if he would like a better sling for his arm.

He agreed, and Haselgard placed his arm is a better position to help the wound heal correctly and pulled out a cravat to create the sling.

Young Jasam was timid at first, but the Army medic used his linguist to explain his actions step-by-step and it seemed to work. Soon Jasam was relaxed and his wince replaced by a smile.

By the time Haselgard finished it was apparent Jasam was very happy and in less pain due to the increased comfort of his new sling.

"It gave me a warm feeling inside to be able to help a child in need," said Haselgard. "Being trained as a medic, I'm always prepared to fix whatever is broken, but it's the little things that make the biggest difference."

Although the aid was not requested, nor part of the platoon's specific mission that day, the message spoke volumes about the Army's new mission in Iraq as Soldiers are seen less as enforcers and more as enablers.

(Pfc. Ronald Leydet serves with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division.)

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16