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John Gebhardt Holding Injured Baby in Iraq

Summary:
Email claims that an attached photograph shows airman John Gebhardt holding a little Iraqi girl who was injured by insurgents (Full commentary below).



Status:
True

Example:(Submitted, November 2007)
Subject:FW: Should be headline news

This needs to make headline news...not some of the other junk that makes the news these days!!! John Gebhardt with baby in Iraq

It's a tough, but heartwarming story...with a picture of John Gebhardt in Iraq

John Gebhardt's wife, Mindy, said that this little girl's entire family was executed. The insurgents intended to execute the little girl also, and shot her in the head...but they failed to kill her. She was cared for in John's hospital and is healing up, but continues to cry and moan. The nurses said John is the only one who seems to calm her down, so John has spent the last four nights holding her while they both slept in that chair. The girl is coming along with her healing.

He is a real Star of the war, and represents what the Western world is trying to do.

This, my friends, is worth sharing with the WORLD! Go for it!!

You'll never see things like this in the news. Please keep this going. Nothing will happen if you don't, but the public needs to see pictures like this and needs to realize that we're making a difference. Even if it is just one little girl at a time.




Commentary:
Some photographs tell a story all by themselves. This moving, and somehow peaceful, photograph of a sleeping airman cradling an injured child is certainly one of them. And, for once, the textual explanation that accompanies the photograph contains accurate information.

The photograph shows Chief Master Sgt. John Gebhardt with an injured Iraqi child during a deployment to Balad Air Base in Iraq during October 2006. An article about John on the Air Force Link website notes:
The young infant had received extensive gunshot injuries to her head when insurgents attacked her family killing both of her parents and many of her siblings. The chief had a knack for comforting her and they often would catch a cat nap together in a chair.

Now, he is back at home in Wichita, Kan., with his wife, Mindy. They have a warm, hospitable home five minutes away from McConnell Air Force Base. His son Ryan, 25, and daughter Amber, 23, have long since outgrown being cradled and he said he thought about them constantly while he held the Iraqi child.

"I got as much enjoyment out of it as the baby did," he said. "I reflected on my own family and life and thought about how lucky I have been."
The photograph generated a lot of attention when it first began circulating back in 2006. It is perhaps an indication of the photograph's simple but powerful symbolism that it continues to circulate more than a year later.

References:
Humble chief gains national attention

Last updated: 1st October 2009
First published: 15th November 2007

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen

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