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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
    singersp is offline PPO Newshound
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    “Rambo’†™ of Iraq getting care in Atlanta

    [size=18px] “Rambo’†™ of Iraq getting care in Atlanta [/size]

    05/02/2006

    By MIKE STOBBE
    Associated Press Writer


    ATLANTA (AP) — A celebrated Iraqi soldier who was shot 12 times in a December ambush is making good medical progress since arriving in the United States, his doctor said Monday.

    The paralyzed 28-year-old, known by the alias Captain Furat, has been in Atlanta more than two months, receiving free treatment at Shepherd Center, a specialized hospital for brain and spinal cord injuries.

    Last week, he moved to a nearby apartment but continues to visit the center for daily rehabilitation and outpatient treatment, said Dr. Don Leslie, the Shepherd Center’s medical director.

    He is paralyzed from the waist down and complains of back pain caused by nerve damage. But he’s been weaned off narcotic painkillers and may one day be able to walk with the help of special leg braces, Leslie said.

    ‘‘He’ s a fighter,’’ the doctor said, at a Monday morning press conference.
    Furat gained notoriety last year when a Washington Times photographer embedded with U.S. troops began writing about him.

    He was a decorated soldier in the Iraqi Army’s ‘‘Tiger Battalion,’’ but wanted to be identified by a false name, Furat, because of threats to his family.

    Some U.S. soldiers who fought alongside Furat referred to him as ‘‘Rambo,â€⠢’ because of his bravery in combat situations and the way he wielded a heavy machine gun and ammunition belts, the newspaper reported.

    He was shot on the afternoon of Dec. 25. He was in his personal car, wearing civilian clothes, when another vehicle intercepted him, Furat said.

    A Washington Times account said three masked gunmen in Iraqi Army uniforms were in the other vehicle, that Furat was accompanied by another Iraqi soldier, and that he was heading back to base. But at the press conference, Furat said four men attacked him and he was on his way home from work. He did not mention a traveling companion.

    Furat said he exchanged gunfire, hitting one of the attackers. The assailants drove off, but they had shot him 12 times, including three times in the back, he said.

    Furat was treated in Iraq. At the request of U.S. military officials, he was transported in February to the United States for more specialized care.
    Furat began receiving inpatient care at Shepherd Center on Feb. 27, but it wasn’t until Monday that Shepherd Center officials held their first press conference to discuss the case.

    When asked about the timing of the press conference, a Shepherd Center spokesman said: ‘‘He’ s ready to talk now.’’

    Wearing a black Minnesota Vikings sweat shirt and speaking with help of a translator, the smiling soldier said he is grateful for the care he’s received but worries for his family.

    He hopes to return to fighting shape, but that’s not likely, Leslie said. However, he may be able to go to school, to have a job and to drive a specially adapted vehicle, Leslie said.

    It’s not clear how long Furat will have to stay, Leslie added. He declined to estimate the dollar value of the free care he is receiving from Shepherd Center.

    “Rambo’†™ of Iraq getting care in Atlanta

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    whiteboy is offline Pro-Bowler
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    Re: “Rambo’†™ of Iraq getting care in Atlanta

    thats great we are helping this guy out and it's cool he had on a vikings sweatshirt (i saw it on the news), but i think we first need to take care of our own troops first..... :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:

    U.S. News & World Report
    May 1, 2006
    Pg. 31

    Of Insult And Injury

    Why soldiers harmed in war take unfair financial hits

    By Alex Kingsbury

    In 2004, two weeks before Christmas, an Army National Guard staff sergeant's humvee was hit by a truck while under enemy fire in Iraq. The crash smashed the soldier's jaw and sent him into a coma that lasted more than three months. The day he left the hospital, nearly six months after the accident, his wife was surprised to get a call from his unit asking why her husband was absent without leave. It was an all-too-common Army snafu and just the beginning of a long financial nightmare.

    The soldier was rated 80 percent disabled, and his family expected to receive a monthly benefit check of more than $3,000. But those checks soon stopped because, the sergeant was told, he owed the Army $6,400. An error by a finance clerk then doubled that amount to $12,500. As a result, family members say, their utilities were cut off and the soldier's 11-year-old daughter was sent to live with relatives out of state.

    Such Kafkaesque tales, sadly, aren't all that unusual--that's the conclusion of a pair of draft reports by the Government Accountability Office obtained exclusively by U.S. News. Those reports--and ongoing efforts to fix the problems--will be the subject of a hearing this week by the House Committee on Government Reform chaired by Rep. Tom Davis. The committee's staff director, David Marin, refused to comment on the GAO findings because they will not be publicly released until the hearing. "Davis wants to make sure that these brave victims of financial friendly fire are taken care of," Marin says.

    Almost 900 Army soldiers wounded in combat between early 2001 and September 2005 had military debts totaling about $1.2 million, an estimated 73 percent of which were caused by payroll errors, according to the GAO. The audits also found "331 battle-injured soldiers whose military service debts were undergoing collection action, including at least 74 soldiers whose military debts had been reported to credit bureaus and to private collection agencies." The Defense Finance and Accounting Service, which handles accounting for the Department of Defense, declined to comment on the audit drafts.

    Broken systems. The errors are often the result of confusion stemming from the Army's separate payroll, medical, and personnel databases, which are antiquated, complex, and overtaxed, investigators say. Last fall, U.S. News published the findings of an internal Army audit that estimated that up to 4,000 soldiers seriously wounded in Iraq were either overpaid or underpaid. "The systems are so broken that even trained finance officers cannot track down what a soldier should be paid and what they owe," says Michael Hurst, a former captain in an Army finance battalion, who conducted the audit. "It's a serious problem when soldiers cannot trust that their paychecks are correct."

    In the past, Congress and the Army have canceled erroneous debts as they have been discovered--including those of the wounded staff sergeant, whose debts were waived in January and whose saga is documented in one of the new GAO audits. The Pentagon now collects information about wounded soldiers in a new database to better track their pay. But better training is also needed for those who run the labyrinthine pay systems. Officials from the Army and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service have told the GAO that "finance office personnel lack the knowledge needed to accurately input transactions to soldier pay accounts" and that additional training has been initiated. But these are only stopgap measures until the real work of simplifying and unifying the disparate databases is completed. And as long as the problems continue, lawmakers say, they'll continue raising hell about them.

    and

    New York Daily News
    April 24, 2006
    Pg. 8

    War-Wounded G.I.s Get Hosp Bills: Mag


    HUNDREDS OF soldiers wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq are being sent bills for their medical care by the Pentagon, according to U.S. News & World Report.

    And at least 74 of them have been reported to credit agencies for not paying up, the newsweekly said.

    The improper billing for medical care resulting from war-related injuries was caused by systemic errors by the Pentagon’s Defense Finance and Accounting Service, according to documents obtained by the magazine.

    Almost 900 Army soldiers were assessed debts totaling $1.2 million between 2001 and 2005, according to two draft reports from the Government Accountability Office that were obtained by the magazine; 73% of those debts assigned to the soldiers were the result of Pentagon payroll errors.

    The GAO reports identified “331 battle injured soldiers whose military-service debts were undergoing collection action, including at least 74 soldiers whose military debts had been reported to credit bureaus and private collection agencies.”

    The House Committee on Government Reform is scheduled to hold a hearing on the payroll errors this week.

    David Marin, the committee’s staff director, declined to comment on the GAO findings, but he said that Rep. Tom Davis, who chairs the panel, “wants to make sure that these brave victims of financial friendly fire are taken care of.”

    The Defense Finance and Accounting Service declined to comment.

    The story is contained in the magazine’s issue that hits newsstands today.

    --News Staff Report

  3. #3
    Redrouster's Avatar
    Redrouster is offline Pro-Bowler
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    Re: “Rambo’†™ of Iraq getting care in Atlanta

    Great Article!!!
    Yes, there are Viking loyal here in Iraq. HOOAH!

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