‘Operation Bernice’ Delivers Joy To Afghan Children
December 21, 2007
As we move closer and closer to Christmas, many of us who have children, are busy preparing for the holiday; buying and wrapping gifts and ensuring that we have our baking and decorating done, in order to celebrate Christmas with our loved ones, as we’re accustomed to. For children in war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, they often don’t have the opportunity to enjoy the type of gifts that we lavish upon our children. This year though, in Angurdarrah and Gadaykhel many children will be able to experience Christmas, with the joy we see on the faces of our own children.
Dubbed ‘Operation Bernice’ after a childhood toy of Army Major Jeremy McGuire, the team leader of the Kohe Safi Police Mentor Team, the mission to ensure that Afghan children received a gift at Christmas turned out to be very successful. Major McGuire remembered a stuffed animal that he received as a child from his aunt, Marcie Grace Kelley and decided to name the mission to the two remote Afghan villages, Operation Bernice, after that childhood toy. The mission was planned when his Aunt Marcy donated 200 stuffed animals to be handed out to the Afghan children.
“Operation Bernice, to me, shows how the coalition forces, the Afghan National Police, government leaders of Kohe Safi and people in the United States can work together …. to help the people of Afghanistan, and demonstrate how the government is available to answer the people’s grievances,” McGuire said.
Throughout the remainder of December, McGuire and his team will continue to make visits, multiple times with the people of Kohe Safi. Then after New Year’s Day, the Bagram Provincial Reconstruction Team members plan to conduct a four day medical mission to northern Kohe Safe villages that they visited during ‘Operation Bernice’ and were able to identify medical needs. According to McGuire, the delivery of the toys was a success and that the presence of girls was a great sign.
“Typically, in this area we have had a low female turnout for medical engagements. ‘Operation Bernice’ gave us an insight that they may be very receptive to the medical engagement the Afghan government and doctors will be executing in January.”
It’s great that forces were able to not only bring some joy into the lives of these Afghan children, but were able to identify medical needs of the communities as well. These types of missions are much more commonplace than many people know, as these are generally the types of stories that the media tends to ignore. News like this, makes me even more proud of the job that the men and women serving in our country’s Armed Forces, are doing in Afghanistan and Iraq.