Maj. Jerry Curran, M.D.

There are healers, as well, inside the military community. One of the best works in the cramped and chilly second-floor room of an Afghan warlord’s house in Jom Qaddam, a village near Bagram.  Maj. Jerry Curran, M.D., is on his knees peering into the face of 10-year-old Minima, a poised young woman who lost her right eye last fall when a Taliban soldier smashed her face with his rifle butt. Curran glows with contagious energy and glee. He is the emergency surgeon for soldiers at Bagram air base, but makes time for this temporary pediatrics clinic he helped set up.

Curran grew up in Kings Park, N.Y., outside Manhattan. He retains the accent, which flavors the few words of Dari he uses with cheerful and reckless abandon. “Tashakool!” he cries, an approximation of “Thanks.” “C’mon ovah hee-yah! How ya feelin’?” Minima smiles shyly and the other kids crowd forward. Children in Afghanistan are unself-conscious about disfiguring wounds. So is Curran. He finds a package of antibiotics for Minima’s healing eye socket. “Hee-yah—four times a day—uh, chal dhal!  Dhal, um chal, right?” He chuckles. “OK! Who’s next?” Curran, 38, had toyed with declaring himself a pacifist in high school, but decided he had a responsibility to the world’s oppressed. He went to West Point and fought as a tank officer in Desert Storm. That wasn’t “wholesome” enough, so he got into medical school, weathered a heart attack and plunged into life as an Army emergency-room doctor. “Ya gotta live life to the fullest!” he says, grinning.

“I saw a little boy in here the other day with polio, 6 years old and crippled. I was telling him about Franklin Roosevelt, trying to encourage him.” Then a girl desperately needing a liver transplant. “She’d had hepatitis. Her father had been told there was medicine that would make her well. No. She needed millions of dollars for a transplant at a top-notch U.S. facility,” Curran says. “I had to tell her father, ‘Your daughter is going to die.”’

Staff Sergeant Dirk Sheffer
PFC Ryan Odom
Staff Sergeant George Smith
Major Kevin Farris
Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Grippe
Maj. Gen. Franklin L. “Buster” Hagenbeck
Lt. Col. Fred Hoadley
Specialist Steven Merkley
Maj. Jerry Curran, M.D.

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