American soldiers with Iraqi children
American soldiers with Iraqi children

Some Good News from Iraq: Sweet Sixteen

Oct 3, 2007

"It is frequently said that there is not much good news from this war," Dr. Jeffrey McCausland told the Council recently on his return from Iraq. "That is true and there are many reasons for it."

Yet not all the news is bad. There are heartening stories too.

"While I was in Iraq I spent a brief period of time with A Troop, 3/1 Cavalry,3rd Infantry Division", continued Dr. McCausland. "Here is a brief story with pictures so that you can draw your own conclusions. To me, at least, it demonstrates the humanity of the American soldier under very difficult circumstances."

For more photos, please download the file at the bottom of the page.


In the early morning on the 3rd of August 2007, A Troop 3-1 Cavalry conducted a cordon and search of Al Ariaba village. This cordon and search was a success, and yielded eight detainees who were positively identified as members of JAM (Jaish al Mahdi , the Shia Militia group loyal to Al Sadr). During the cordon and search, 1st platoon entered a house and found two adolescent women. The young women were Heiet Hassan Kenan, who was born paralyzed, and her sister Soham Hassan Kenan, who had lost both of her legs three years ago to a terrorist mortar round. Both girls were frightened of the Coalition Forces in their home.

The Platoon Leader for 1st platoon reported the girls to Captain Thomas and he acknowledged and continued to get the positive identification of criminals in Al Ariaba. The patrol returned to the home of Soham on the 6th of August for an initial medical screening. Captain Thomas brought humanitarian aid bags of food, medicine, and beanie babies for the girls. Captain Thomas had the Squadron doctor Captain Ali come and see Soham and assess her physical state.

It was determined that Soham should receive quality medical attention that her family could not afford. A trip was coordinated for her to go to 28 Combat Surgical Hospital and have an Iraqi specialist look at her wounds. On the 2nd of September, A Troop returned to the home of Soham to ensure that the necessary documents were in order that she would need to travel to Baghdad to receive medical attention. During this visit Captain Ali gave away crayons, medicine, and humanitarian aid bags. Our interpreter Herman reviewed Soham's paperwork and ensured that she had everything she needed, because in a few days we would return and take her to Baghdad for medical attention. The family made chai and we sat and enjoyed the tea with the family. The Troopers were laughing and playing with the many children and toddlers that had filled the room.

On the 5th of August, A Troop returned with the mission of escorting Soham to FOB [Forward Operating Base] Rustamiyah, there she would be taken by helicopter to 28 Combat Surgical Hospital. Her family was excited to see us again and escorted by her brother, Soham was put in Captain Thomas's vehicle and escorted to Rustamiyah. Soham's brother, Herman, and Captain Thomas escorted Soham on her first airplane ride and arrived at the Green Zone in the early afternoon.

Soham's doctor stated that her legs had not been amputated properly and this caused her pain when the amputated ends were touched. She also received a fitting for prosthetics. She was asked to return in a week for a follow up appointment and continued evaluation for her needs. Soham flew back to Rustamiyah and was taken home.

It is the goal of the Troop to watch Soham walk through her village again someday.

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