This moving photograph shows Chief Master Sgt. John Gebhardt, superintendent of the 22nd Wing Medical Group at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas, USA, holding an injured Iraqi girl. The picture was taken in October 2006, while Sgt. Gebhardt was deployed to Balad Air Base in Iraq.
According to the Air Force Print News, the infant girl Sgt. Gebhardt held in his arms "received extensive gunshot injuries to her head when insurgents attacked her family killing both of her parents and many of her siblings." Sgt. Gebhardt is now back home in Wichita, Kansas, with his wife and two children.
An Air Force Link article about the sudden fame he gained as the subject of this photograph reported that:
The chief had a knack for comforting [the injured Iraqi girl] and they often would catch a cat nap together in a chair. "I got as much enjoyment out of it as the baby did," he said. "I reflected on my own family and life and thought about how lucky I have been."
While deployed to Iraq, the chief tried to help out any way he could. He figured holding a baby that needed comforting that would free up one more set of arms that could be providing care to more critical patients.
"I pray for the best for the Iraqi children," he said. "I can't tell the difference between their kids and our kids. The Iraqi parents have the same care and compassion for their children as any American."