Injured Iraqi Catain Visits Robins
By Airman 1st Class Paul R. Ross, 116 ACW Public Affairs
/ Published September 19, 2006
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Most people wouldn't take a bullet for a stranger, but a captain in the new Iraqi Army took a dozen.
Capt. Furat, whose real name is being withheld to protect his family in Iraq, survived an attack in which he endured 12 bullet wounds -- one of which severed his spinal cord, causing paralysis rom the waist down.
The 28-year old Iraqi captain visited Robins Air Force base May 9 and had nothing but praise for American forces.
"Today I visit not with my friends in the Air Force but my brothers in the Air Force," Capt. Furat said. "I'll tell you about my brother -- The Soldiers and Air Force here or in any country are like my brothers. When I work with U.S. Army, I don't tell them, 'hey my friend' I say 'hey my brother.' When I meet you and I don't know your name I don't say 'hey can you help me' I say 'hey my brother can you help me.' This is my language."
While getting a tour of a C-17 aircraft, the former member of Saddam Hussein's military was optimistic about what lies ahead.
"My future ... I see my future is good." said Capt. Furat "I'm ready to work."
While terrorists in Iraq still wish for his demise, he is receiving world renowned treatment at The Sheppard Center in Atlanta and enjoying every minute in the United States.
"When I came here I think the people here don't like Iraqis, but shortly I find the doctors are my friends and many people in the hospital are like my family" said the Iraqi captain. "When I come here I see the American people are different, big different. [They] think about the future, [They] want to help anybody not just American, but they want to help Iraqi, Syrian, Germany - anybody, any country."
Dubbed "Rambo" by his American counterparts, the decorated officer worked closely with the United States military while in Iraq.
"The work with U.S. Forces is wonderful. When the U.S. Army came into Iraq I learned everything from them" said Capt. Furat. "[They taught me] when to move, what to see, what to do when a bad guy shoots you and then I teach my soldiers. I tell them 'see this is the U.S. Army.'
Fighting for the same cause can create bonds between very different people.
"It's not this guy works here and this guy works there -- they do both. They say 'hey my brother can you go with me' said Capt. Furat. "You work both -- you work [like] brothers."
The young man smiled for the entire C-17 tour, but it disappeared for a moment when the captain was asked how he felt seeing his Iraqi brethren dying and getting wounded.
"When I see the Iraqi Army or Iraqi Police, he's killed like me" said Capt. Furat. "I want to have pistol or weapon or anything and I want to kill this bad guy and help this U.S. Army or this Police man or Iraqi Army.
The young man's future is uncertain, but he said he isn't unhappy about it.
"I hope to [go] back to Iraq, but for now I want to stay here" said Capt. Furat. "Here my friend asked me about my future. My future is maybe I [go] back to Iraq.