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Noor Taha Najee gives 1st Lt. Michael Kendrick, platoon leader of 2nd Platoon, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment a goodbye kiss near the end of a visit to her house in al Buaytha, Iraq.
Noor Taha Najee gives 1st Lt. Michael Kendrick, platoon leader of 2nd Platoon, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment a goodbye kiss near the end of a visit to her house in al Buaytha, Iraq. (Kevin Stabinsky / U.S. Army)
Noor Taha Najee gives 1st Lt. Michael Kendrick, platoon leader of 2nd Platoon, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment a goodbye kiss near the end of a visit to her house in al Buaytha, Iraq.
Noor Taha Najee gives 1st Lt. Michael Kendrick, platoon leader of 2nd Platoon, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment a goodbye kiss near the end of a visit to her house in al Buaytha, Iraq. (Kevin Stabinsky / U.S. Army)
Five-year-old Noor gives Kendrick a tour of her yard during a visit the soldier made to her house in al Buaytha, Iraq.
Five-year-old Noor gives Kendrick a tour of her yard during a visit the soldier made to her house in al Buaytha, Iraq. (Kevin Stabinsky / U.S. Army)

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment are working to help a young girl in Iraq go beyond having a mental picture of her father to actually seeing him with her eyes.

Noor Taha Najee has been blind since birth, the result of a condition caused by poorly developed corneas. Though the condition can be corrected with surgery, the procedure isn’t available to the family, which lives near Kalsu, south of Baghdad.

The soldiers are working with a nongovernmental organization in Los Angeles to have the surgery done. “We’re on standby now, waiting for a doctor in L.A.,” said 1st Lt. Michael Kendrick, platoon leader of 2nd Platoon, Company D.

Noor, who is 5 years old, was taken to the 86th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad in mid-March for an evaluation, which showed a high potential of success for the surgery. Her brother, who has the same condition, was found to have a lower chance of success.

An Iraqi doctor who would be willing to travel with Noor and her family to California also must be found, so that someone can be trained in the necessary follow-up care.

“We’ve taken a real vested interest in the people here,” Kendrick said. “We empathize with the people. It pays dividends winning the hearts and minds. It keeps things quiet.”

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