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Meet Petty Officer Third Class Dustin E. Kirby

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By Michelle Malkin  •  December 28, 2006 11:43 PM

***update – Soldier’s Angels tells me they’ll be making contact with Petty Officer Kirby in order to deliver a VALOUR IT laptop to him. Learn more about the project here.***

Maybe CNN can pause from their terrorist sniper video-promotion efforts and do a story on an American hero wounded by an Iraqi sniper. Kudos to the NYTimes for bringing readers the story:

Petty Officer Third Class Dustin E. Kirby, a Navy corpsman whose efforts to save a wounded marine in Iraq were covered in an article published Nov. 2 in The New York Times, was severely wounded by an Iraqi sniper on Christmas afternoon, his family and the Marine Corps said yesterday.

The bullet struck the left side of his face while he was on the roof of Outpost Omar, the position his unit occupies in Karma, a city near Falluja in Anbar Province.

His jaw and upper palate were damaged extensively, but after several operations he was conscious and on a ventilator in a military hospital in Germany, his battalion commander, Lt. Col. Kenneth M. DeTreux, said by telephone.

Petty Officer Kirby, 22, of Hiram, Ga., was assigned to Weapons Company, Second Battalion, Eighth Marines, serving as the trauma medic for the company’s Second Mobile Assault Platoon. It was his second tour in Iraq. He had married weeks before leaving the United States in July.

He was expected to arrive today at Bethesda Naval Medical Center in Maryland, where his wife, Lauren Kirby, and his parents, Gail and Jack Kirby, planned to meet him.

Although Petty Officer Kirby cannot speak because of his injuries, his mother said she had communicated with him through his brother-in-law, a serviceman who is stationed in Germany and has been at his bedside, holding a phone to Petty Officer Kirby’s ear.

Petty Officer Kirby listened to his mother and replied by writing notes, which his brother-in-law read aloud.

“He told me, ‘Don’t cry, Mama,’ ” Ms. Kirby said by telephone. “I said, ‘I have to. I’m a mom. That’s what moms do.’ ”

She added, “He wrote, ‘Be strong for me and Lauren.’ ”

In another note, she said, he wrote, simply, “Milkshake.”

Keep Petty Officer Kirby and his family in your prayers.

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