In Iraq for 365

About my experiences in Iraq... the frustrations, the missions and this country... and the journey home

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Logan, Iraqi Boy Wonder

I was introduced to Logan in May when I was embedded with an infantry unit. I have never met a more amazing kid. Today was the first time I've seen him in six months. I was relieved he was still alive. Here’s the story I wrote way back when on this little boy wonder…

Iraqi boy assists Soldiers as an interpreter and a friend
MOSUL, Iraq – If the Army had an adopt-a-child program, Logan would be the poster child. For more than a year, the 13-year-old boy, who contends he’s 13 and a half, has lived and worked with Coalition forces at a forward operating base in Mosul. The boy speaks four languages and his official title at the FOB is translator and supervisor, but he is a Soldier at heart.
“I love American Soldiers. I want to help them in every way possible, because without them we (Iraqis) would have nothing,” said Logan, who also speaks Turkish, Arabic and Kurdish and is currently learning Spanish. “When Saddam ruled Iraq, he would kill somebody for speaking English or Kurdish. Things were very bad, but now we are much happier and I can speak all my languages freely.”
Not a day goes by that Logan doesn’t use his four languages. At the FOB, he helps Soldiers with more than 50 workers, who maintain buildings, electricity and plumbing.
“It would be very difficult to do my job without Logan. Some of the workers only speak Kurdish, Turkish or Arabic. Rather than having a translator for each group, Logan can talk to all of them,” said Staff Sgt. Phillip Powers, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the contracted workers on the FOB. “We tell him what we need done and then he supervises the workers on the project. Sometimes you forget he’s just a kid because he’s telling grown men what to do.”
Even though he’s barely 4 foot 10 inches, Logan is the big man at the FOB. He knows every Soldier by name and the Soldiers believe that the camp would not function without him.
“Everybody looks forward to talking to Logan,” said Spc. Jim Pelletier, scout platoon, 2/3. “He’s funny and is always asking if there’s anything he can get us at the market. Plus, when people first see a kid bossing around workers for the first time, they want to meet him and hear his story.”
Logan’s story is both compelling and sad. His uncle was killed by members of Saddam Hussein’s regime for speaking Turkish in Baghdad. One of 11 children, Logan learned English from his mother, who speaks seven languages. His father, who provided magazines to U.S. Army Soldiers during the first Gulf War, always told Logan about how great American Soldiers were. Even before Logan met a man in uniform, he liked Americans.
“Logan sees how American Soldiers act, and he tries to imitate their actions from the way he treats his workers to lifting weights to being confident,” said Sgt. Maj. Michael Brown, 2/3’s staff sergeant major. “In a lot of ways, he is a Soldier.”
Logan already owns two U.S. Army uniforms and although they barely fit him, it’s his dream to one day see specialist rank on the collar and his name on the chest.
“I want to be an American Soldier when I grow up,” he said. “I really want to be a specialist because those are the guys doing all the work.”
With tours with the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Division and the Stryker Brigade, when Logan enlists, he may be the most experienced private to ever join the Army.

When I found Logan, I knew his story would make an award-winning piece… but, I didn’t want to write it, because I was worried of the terrorists seeing his name, his photo and then track him down and kill him. Over a slice of Iraqi-made pizza, Logan asked me to write his story. I get this all the time, but never from Iraqi interpreters. I told him the dangers of such publicity and he said, “I don’t care. More people need to support us.” So, I wrote it, but I didn’t use his real name or where he was located.

His old unit has since redeployed to the states, but Logan now interprets for a high-ranking officer. He has perfect diction and could fit in at any American Junior High School, but the minute somebody talks trash on American soldiers, he’ll put a hurtin’ on ‘em.

He got kicked out of school for pulling a knife on a kid, who said “My dad says you’re working with infidels. He said you should be killed.” Well, Logan loves soldiers, and he’s got a tough-guy mentality just like us. And just like us, he’d take a bullet to save a soldier’s life.

In fact, he brags that he’s on two blacklists – a most wanted list – for the enemy. I think the only list I was on at 14 was the principal’s most likely to paddle list. (I hold the record in my middle school for the most swats in a week). If kids these days think they have problems with boyfriends, girlfriends and cleaning their room, maybe they should hear Logan’s story. And perhaps, they can hear it in person.

For some time, there’s been a plan to get this kid to the states. Now that he’s on blacklists, he may be granted asylum. “I want to be an American,” he said to me today.
I put one hand around his tiny shoulders and the other atop his John Deer hat and said, “Logan, you already are an American. You’re wearing Nikes.”


At 8:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most definitely! more American than sone of the spoiled,whining,never had to work for anything punks that don't even have a clue about the real reality. Logan's got my vote! you go Sminkie! we love ya!

At 10:23 AM, Blogger Hmmm said...

Hey, if there's anything folks can do to get him here, let us know. The lawyers who helped free Jessica Lynch is here, so I don't see why this kid couldn't.

At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This story is similar to ones from the Korean War. Many of these boys became American citizens, sometimes by being adopted by soldiers and brought to the US for schooling. Hope this story makes its way on the web but "Logan" remains in safety wherever he is.

At 1:26 PM, Blogger FbL said...

What an awesome kid! Please let me know if there is anything I can do for "Logan."

At 3:07 PM, Blogger Mike O said...

I myself don't want Logan to come here (except for a visit). I want him to return to Iraq and become the great leader he has the capacity to be. The need is greatest there, as dangerous as it is for the moment.

With his linguistic skills, it begs the question; what is the record for the youngest Foreign Minister representing a country?

How about as Iraq's ambassador to the U.N.? There are a few there I'd like him to pull his knife on for trash-talking America :))

I hope the rest of his family is safe as well.

At 6:25 PM, Blogger Steel Monkey said...

Amazing story and very inspiring.

At 7:18 PM, Blogger ledger said...

The story of Logan is amazing! He sounds like one heck of a good guy. It should be a must read by all Americans. Tell Logan thanks from America and Keep up the great work!

At 5:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Logan already is American, by that I mean he already has all the qualities that founded America and made it great. All thats left is the paperwork.

At 5:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just recently found your blog and put it on my favorites list. In regard to Logan, I'm very impressed and very concerned for his safety. His attitude and abilities are valuable and will take him a long way in whatever he decides to do long after OIF has ended, IF he stays alive. It sounds like at least part of his family is pro American. I hope getting him and his family (if they choose to leave) to a safe place in the States is a top priority. Both Logan and his mother would be able to get top paying jobs as interpreters. If an insurgent/terrorist manages to infiltrate a crew of Iraqi workers on the base, I imagine Logan would be a target. How easy of a target would he be?

At 10:03 AM, Blogger Mo said...

That was just awesome. What a wonderful kid! Keep him safe for us. He is going to accomplish great things in his life.

At 11:53 AM, Blogger YoungRightWinger said...

I found your blog via a comment on mine, this story is great. I made a post on my website that links to this post, just thought I would let you know.
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At 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Whee! What a wonderful young man that Logan is. I do hope that he will be safe. The terrorists would like nothing better than to kill him and brag about it.

I do hope that Logan can come to the US if that's what he wants. His loyalty to the US military sounds great. He is really helping the military by interpreting etc. Interpreters are very much in demand over there I'm sure.

Thanks for telling this young man's story. He sounds wise beyond his years.

At 8:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Ron,
Thanks so much for the pictures. Logan is a nice looking young man. I am praying for his safety.

At 10:08 PM, Blogger The CO said...

kick ass story, i hope the kid gets his dream.

At 11:31 PM, Blogger elvatoloko said...

Logan needs to be adopted by US citizen parents before he turns 16 to be able to come to the US. This would be the simplest, surefire way to get him into the U.S. Nothing would impede him from going back to Iraq if he so choses later in life. The president of Georgia was a naturalized US citizen...see biography at

Asylum is definitely a possibility, but you can only apply for asylum from within the US or at a US port of entry. He would have to be granted something like humanitarian parole to be able to get into the US and then apply for asylum.(That's the way the Iraqui lawyer who contributed to Jessica Lynch's freedom came to the US). Even if Logan would be granted asylum, it would take him somewhere like 4 yeas to be able to apply for permanent residence. Once he would obtain permanent residence, US citizenship would be one year away if he enlised in the US armed forces, 5 years away if he chose not to. Immigration laws are complicated and not forgiving. By the way, laws such as those proposed by congressman Sensenbrenner to tighten access to asylum in the US will close the US's door to many Logans of this world. Make your voice heard against such restrictionist stances who have NEVER impeded terrorists to access the US contact Sensenbrenner at:

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At 6:06 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

That Logan seems like a smart kid!

At 7:58 PM, Blogger ramoo said...

if you guy´s, realy love LOGAN. help hem to be come is american. that what I think he want ... and he have work. over 5 years from now. he was first interpreter. and he is lost mosul and all iraq.. and he love hes job. bout it is danger job. for hem now. he have lost 37 linguist, and u.s soldiers have been killd with hem..some of logan family. have been killd now. because of logan. work with u.s army. logan is hero for iraqi and american. logan group as a man with u.s army FOB´s. and he can visat hes family. hes always in FOB.and is very difficult for hem. I was with hem. is linguist bout not anymore.. and without LOGAN soldiers are not happier in iraq. so what I mean do best to logan. he have no one. and can live that life anymore. thank´s

At 10:19 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Wow he sounds like a great kid, I hope he is able to get to the US before its too late. I have an Iraqi friend who is and interpreter and has lost a few friends over there!

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