by Chris Maynard
Navy medic Dustin E. Kirby, whose bloodied hand was the subject of a November 3 BAGnewsNotes posting holding a sniper’s bullet in Karma, Iraq, was wounded himself earlier this week. He was shot in the left side of his face, also by a sniper, and also in Karma, on Christmas afternoon. He is 22 years old.
According to an article in The New York Times, his upper palate and jaw were severely damaged; he was transferred to a hospital in Germany and was conscious and able to communicate by writing notes. After being struck he apologized to his senior enlisted man for getting wounded and insisted on walking to an evacuation helicopter. He was on his second tour of active duty.
In 2004 a cousin, also a Navy corpsman with a Marine unit, lost a leg in Iraq. Before returning to Iraq, Petty Officer Kirby was a roommate of Marine Lance Corporal Colin Smith, who had been wounded by the bullet shown in November’s photograph. Lance Cpl. Smith, who is 19 years old, is now under “treatment and evaluation” for head injuries.
Like putting a name to a face, putting a face to a hand lends a slight bit more recognition as the official toll of U.S. troop fatalities in Iraq crosses 3,000.
(image: Joao Silva/The New York Times. Iraq. published: December 29, 2006. nyt.com)