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Baby Noor's trip to America has begun, the first leg of the journey courtesy of the US Air Force:
The C-130 Hercules aircraft here have routinely hauled more than one million troops and 76,000 tons of cargo in and out of Iraq.
But today the mission was not routine.
At about 4 p.m., a C-130 from the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing touched down here carrying Baby Noor, her father and grandmother on their way to the United States for medical treatment.
The C-130 crew on this mission was from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, and originally had the day off.
“We weren’t scheduled to fly, so to get alerted to fly something like this is pretty darn satisfying,” said co-pilot Capt. Raul Ochoa of the 738th Expeditionary Air Squadron. “We’ve had the opportunity to take part in a lot of missions but this is probably the most rewarding.”
“We’re just fortunate to be able to fly them out, it was an honor,” said pilot Capt. Craig Hinkley. “I’ve never done a humanitarian mission quite like this.”
U.S. Embassy officials in Kuwait coordinated with the Kuwaiti minister of interior to allow a smooth passage to the U.S.
“They were very helpful, allowing these three Iraqis to transit though without visas,” said Charles Glatz, a consul at the embassy.
While the story of Baby Noor now moves to the United States, members of the aircrew won’t soon forget the flight.
“[This was] one of the best missions I’ve ever done,” said loadmaster Tech. Sgt. Dave Rea. “It’s not often we get to help someone like that.”
Flight engineer Tech. Sgt. Bill Thomas summed it up best.
“[This flight] makes it worth getting up in the morning,” he said. “I was pretty excited to do something this important.”
Of course, nothing worth doing is easy:
However, once they reached Kuwait, they discovered that the KLM flight that was to take them to Amsterdam was canceled. U.S. Embassy officials rerouted the family on a Lufthansa flight through Frankfurt but because they are Iraqi citizens, they needed transit visas for Germany.
Early Saturday morning, U.S. officials were able to contact the German Embassy in Washington to issue clearance for the family to land in Frankfurt.
High above the clouds, Delta Air Lines Captain David Damare had something to tell the passengers on Flight 15 from Frankfurt to Atlanta.
All of Delta’s customers were special, he said. But Saturday there was a particularly special person on board. Her name was Noor al-Zahra.
She was three months old and traveling from her native Iraq all the way to Atlanta to receive surgery to correct a life-threatening problem in her spinal cord.
“We are very excited about this trip,” said Soad. “We are thankful to the people of Georgia.”
What a cutie. Bless all who worked to save her and Lord, grant them protection from harm.
SubsunkPosted by Subsunk at December 31, 2005 10:43 PM
Yep, I am SO DANG PROUD of my local Georgia guys!!!! :-) YAY FOR THEM!Posted by Kat Orr at January 2, 2006 12:32 AM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(2) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)