080621m4023m002_processed_large_4Sounds of joy and laughter resonate through a police station’s narrow hallways. A young boy slowly enters through a doorway at the end to greet the boisterous group of Marines, but the sounds of excitement quickly diminish as they see him gasping for air after walking just a short distance.

The boy, five-year-old Ahmed, is the son of Warrant Officer Othman Mallouki, an Iraqi policeman with Fallujah Headquarters District. Since his birth, Ahmed has suffered from a rare but fatal heart condition that if left untreated, will eventually kill him at an unthinkable, young age.
Ahmed’s parents first noticed there was something wrong with their son when he was a year old. The medical condition present in Ahmed’s cardiac system keeps needed oxygen from reaching organs like a normal person’s circulatory system would, causing a bluish coloring around the eyes and on the face.
Tasks such as walking up a set of stairs are very tedious for the young boy because of his medical condition. Ahmed runs completely out of breath performing the simplest of daily activities.
“I was extremely worried all these years, that I might not be able to get the help my son needs,” said Mallouki. “In our culture, the first born is very important and this is our first son.”
Only recently did the light begin to peak through at the end of a dark tunnel for Ahmed and his family when Marines from Company B, Police Transition Team 8, Regimental Combat Team 1, and a charitable organization called “Gift of Life,” based in Tampa, Fla. intervened.
Ahmed’s condition was diagnosed at Fallujah Surgical when Marines took him in for an examination, said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Craig W. Pasanen, a corpsmen with the team. Doctors discovered a hole in the septum of his heart that causes oxygen and deoxygenated blood to pass through the heart and not the lungs.
Mallouki and his son have been working with Coalition forces for the past year in attempts to get the money and medical attention that they so desperately need to help Ahmed.
The operation to mend Ahmed’s heart will be extensive and will require a specialist to stitch the hole inside his heart that is causing his condition.
But medical expenses for the family soon became too much. The nearest qualified specialist who can perform the surgery locates at a surgical clinic in Jordan. The family had no way of earning the money they need to travel and pay for Ahmed’s medical expenses.
Several months ago, members of the team contacted representatives at “Gift of Life,” who began sponsoring Mallouki and Ahmed. In June, Mallouki was able to apply for Visas that would allow the father and son access into Jordan. Their travel expenses were also covered by the charitable organization, and Transition Team members organized several convoys to Baghdad, Iraq, to assist.
Ahmed will finally undergo the surgery he’s needed sometime this month.

“Before I could not hope for anything at all and I was depressed all the time,” said Mallouki. “Now I feel in my heart a sense of hope that my son will grow up normal. I would not have this hope in my life if it weren’t for the Marines here.”

By Cpl. Chris T. Mann

FALLUJAH, Iraq (July 1, 2008)


  1. Hooah to all the caring Marines that made this happen.
    Where is the media coverage of the faith the Iraqi has in our Forces and the mountains our Forces have moved to give this boy a chance at a life with quality. This is a routine surgery here in the US.
    Bless the Marines and the faith the parents have in you

  2. ………….and there are those that say, we shouldnt be over here, we are not making a difference………those are the ones we should be watching the most.

  3. GOD’S BLESSINGS on these Marines!!!!
    Care comes in many forms–this time a 5 year old boy found his ‘Guardian Angels’ — rough, tough, with a slightly weird sense of humor.
    And to think that there are those who will call these Marines and others who have heard the whispering words of Angels to help….
    {I will not dishonor these Marines and the others by finishing the sentence because we all know what those wretched fools say.}

  4. Major Pain, you know the reasons why this story has brought me to tears….any child going through a life threatening health crisis brings it all to close to home for me. I wish every damn nay sayer could have stories like this shoved down their self rightous throats! Thank you for making sure these stories are told, we who read will do our jobs in making sure others will know of this.

  5. After having worked in a neonatal and pediatric critical care floors… thank you marines for that. The children are the real saints, at least when you see them before and after surgery.
    Yes they cry, but their bonding towards their parents, nurses, and doctors are never ending. Almost like they they are believing that clinging to us will all the more heal them. A wonderful deed indeed. Children just are not capable of holding grudges, regardless of the incision site pain, and some internal.
    Thank God this young boy received the opportunity — I don’t know how much longer he would have been able to hang on to life.
    Wow ! ! Another victory for the Marines! !

  6. I love stories like this. I hope that the Iraqi people are realizing the good that the United States can bring. I could not understand why all these groups were fighting us – – we were trying to bring a better life to them. Maybe they are finally seeing that.

  7. To All:
    I am the Navy Corpsman stationed with Police Transition Team 8 in Fallujah Iraq. I have been working to get Ahmed to the Jordan for his surgery since I arrived. It is finally going to happen. Ahmed is a adorable little boy who just wants to be normal. When his father Othman, who I have become a close friend over the last few months, bring Ahmed to the Fallujah District Headquarters to hang out with us the Marines come out of the wood work to say HI, or to play with him a little. He has really touched us. To Mrs. Tutwiler is your grandson would like to send something to Ahmed here is my mailing address and we will forward it to him.
    HM1 Craig Pasanen
    PTT 8 B
    Unit 73775
    FPO-AE 09509-3775
    Again thank you everyone!
    Semper Fi,
    HM1 Craig W. Pasanen

  8. To HM1 Craig,a box of toys and an AH64D Apache helicopter hat are on the way to you this morning for the little boy.I also included some snacks for you.Howard

  9. Howard,
    Thank you for the toys for Ahmed. I will see to it that he gets them as soon as they arrive. Also, thanks for hte snacks.
    Semper Fi
    HM1 Pasanen

  10. HM1 Pasanen,just to let you know there is another box of snacks for you in the mail this (7/22) morning.I included my email.Howard

  11. My father served at the hospital in DaNang during the VietNam war. He shared many stories with me that also broke and healed my heart. Children are children, no matter the country or the situation. God Bless you for what you are doing, and I am sure He will. If you ever need an unbrokenheart, please let me know. It is my company, and it is a sterling silver broken heart, mended with gold. You can see them at http://www.unbrokenheart.com, and I would be honored to donate an unbrokenheart when you feel that it would help.

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