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MEDEVAC for a new-born Bosnian child

By 2Lt Alexis Clement
First published in
SFOR Informer #87, May 10, 2000

Ramstein - Young Kemal Zahirovic's surgery took place on the 5th of May and was a huge success. The story of this child started a few months ago when he entered the University Medical Center Sarajevo, Hospital for Childrens Diseases. He was only three days old at the time and born with a serious heart defect that required immediate surgery.

The commander of MND North, Maj. Gen. Robert Halverson, received a letter a few days later from the commander of the 1st Corps Headquarter of the FbiH Army, BG. Nedzad Ajnadzic, asking for exceptional help. As a matter of fact, Kemal Zahirovic is the son of an officer of this army and his father had the opportunity to plead his son's case. Although he was deeply touched by his case, Halverson could not act by himself and forwarded the demand to U.S. Maj. Bernita Johnson from the MND-N, CIMIC who forwarded it to the Sarajevo CIMIC for review.

That is how German Maj. Armin Hué, Commanding Officer Plans & Operations and acting chief of the Public Health Team was placed in charge of the evacuation planning for Kemels surgery. He chose the Hombourg hospital, Saar, Germany, so the flight transportation would not be too long. Hombourg is very close to the American Air Force Base of Ramstein. Dr, Lindinger of the Homburg Clinic agreed to absorb the cost of surgery and anesthesia. The Rudolph Walter Fundation, through Lt.Col. Norbert Falkowski from the German embassy in BiH, agreed to finance the accomodations for the mother. Capt. Mc Andrew from the U.S. Embassy in BiH managed the transportation. On the 3rd of May, the three month old boy boarded a military plane enroute to Germany for surgery.

This MEDEVAC shows how the cooperation bettween SFOR armies and the EAF can reach many domains. To thank SFOR and the different people involved in this event, FBiH army has agreed to repare the road leading to the Red Cross young people vacation house of Vogoska . The last two kilometers of this road are currently unpaved.