Hanscom Air Force Base   Right Corner Banner
Join the Air Force

News > ESC major helps Iraqi family, improves relations
 
Photos 
Major Lauden
Maj. Michael Lauden, director of operations for the Electronic Systems Center’s Air Force Distributed Common Ground Systems Division, currently deployed in Iraq, is thanked by Mazin Zayer Al-Lamy, director general for Contracts and Sales in the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, for the support he provided in collecting donations for the family of Mr. Al-Lamy's driver, who passed away after being shot by an insurgent. (Courtesy photo)
Download HiRes
ESC major helps Iraqi family, improves relations

Posted 10/8/2010   Updated 10/8/2010 Email story   Print story

    


by Patty Welsh
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs


10/8/2010 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Improving the image of Americans in Iraq was not on the mind of a deployed Electronic Systems Center major; he was just trying to help a family in need.

Maj. Michael Lauden, director of operations for ESC's Air Force Distributed Common Ground Systems Division, has been deployed to Iraq since May. In his deployed position, he is the advisor to Mazin Zayer Al-Lamy, director general for Contracts and Sales in the Iraqi Ministry of Defense.

In late July, Major Lauden learned that Mr. Al-Lamy's driver passed away. The driver, Mr. Raad (note: due to security concerns, the driver will only be identified as Mr. Raad), had been in a coma since April when he was shot by an insurgent on his way home from work.

Mr. Raad left behind a family of three girls, one boy, all under the age of six, and a pregnant wife. Major Lauden learned from his interpreter that the Iraqis would provide some monetary assistance, but it wouldn't be very much and then the family would be on their own.

"A few days earlier, my wife and I had been discussing what to do with some toys and clothes that our daughters had outgrown," Major Lauden said. "When I heard about Mr. Raad, the answer was a no-brainer. I asked my wife to box it all up and send it me."

However, he wanted to do more than that. After checking to see what kind of donations would be appropriate and appreciated, he organized an effort to get contributions from his coworkers, both in Iraq and at Hanscom.

"The response from back home was overwhelming and immediate," Major Lauden said. "In fact, a lot of the clothing was brand new. People felt so strongly about helping that they took the time to go to the store and spend their own money."

Hanscom was not the only U.S. base that contributed; one of the major's coworkers received a box of donations from families at McGuire AFB, N.J.

Once everything was put together, Major Lauden had three large boxes of clothes, toys, non-perishable food and $310.

"Major Lauden's actions reflect his personal strength of character and epitomize the American humanitarian spirit," said Col. William S. Leister, chief of the Intelligence and Special Programs Division of the Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Directorate. "At home or downrange, Major Lauden makes his family, his unit, and all of us here at ESC very proud."

Due to safety concerns, the original plan was for the major to bring the donations in to Mr. Al-Lamy's office, and he would then arrange for the items to be brought to the family.

As a surprise to Major Lauden, Mr. Al-Lamy arranged for Mr. Raad's brother and two oldest daughters to come into the ministry on Sept. 23 to accept the donations.

"The family was very receptive and very grateful," Major Lauden said. "But, it was also quite sad, not only because these two little girls were the first I'd seen since I said goodbye to my own two daughters in May, but the reality set in for me of the long, tough road the family has ahead of them."

As the image most Iraqis have of Americans is the military on combat patrols, Zaid Al-Fayed, deputy director general for Contracts and Sales in the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, said that the major's gesture would go a long way to help improve the image of Americans and also help lay the groundwork for an enduring partnership.

"This allows the Iraqis to see a different side of Americans," he said.

The leaders at ESC and in Iraq also recognize the impact Major Lauden's efforts may have.

"This is a wonderful example, on a personal level, of the Air Force's and ESC's involvement in the current fight," said Steve Wert, program executive officer for C2ISR.

"We are very proud of Mike's actions," said Army Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, U.S. Forces Iraq deputy commanding general for advising and training Iraqi forces. "He clearly represented the Electronic Systems Center, the United States Forces-Iraq and, most importantly, the great American spirit."



tabComments
No comments yet.  
Add a comment

 Inside Hanscom AFB

ima cornerSearch

tabMission NewsRSS feed 
JSTARS Recap team holds industry week

Still time to register for upcoming focus week

Space, Aerial and Nuclear Networks Division offers up potential business opportunities

Significant milestone met as progress continues on AWACS upgrade

Initial phase of Joint STARS effort begins

Cursor on Target to host user group meeting

PEOs share information, emphasize collaboration at symposium

Battle Management division emphasizes acquisition priorities, sets sight on new initiatives

Hanscom facility looks to expand  1

tabHanscom NewsRSS feed 
Wolfenbarger visits Hanscom

Force management update

Prescription drugs 'take back' scheduled

AFOSI assists personnel traveling abroad via AF Portal

Air Base Group working to improve self-assessment program

Holocaust Days of Remembrance scheduled

PPE and situational awareness key to staying safe outdoors

Religious support teams minister to building occupants

AF Heritage of America Band to perform April 25

Hep B immunization guideline updated

tabNews Briefs and HappeningsRSS feed 
Upcoming events

News in Brief

School Notes

tabCommentaryRSS feed 
We all need a wingman

Military spouse resiliency

tabPhoto FeatureRSS feed 
Photo feature: This week at Hanscom, April 17

tabFeaturesRSS feed 
Air Force strong

Making a positive impact


Site Map      Contact Us     Questions     USA.gov     Security and Privacy notice     E-publishing  
Suicide Prevention    SAPR   IG   EEO   Accessibility/Section 508   No FEAR Act