This moving and peaceful photograph shows Chief Master Sgt. John Gebhardt with an injured Iraqi child during a deployment to Balad Air Base in Iraq back in October 2006. An article about John on the Air Force Link website notes:
The young infant had received extensive gunshot injuries to her head when insurgents attacked her family killing both of her parents and many of her siblings. The chief had a knack for comforting her and they often would catch a cat nap together in a chair.
Now, he is back at home in Wichita, Kan., with his wife, Mindy. They have a warm, hospitable home five minutes away from McConnell Air Force Base. His son Ryan, 25, and daughter Amber, 23, have long since outgrown being cradled and he said he thought about them constantly while he held the Iraqi child.
“I got as much enjoyment out of it as the baby did,” he said. “I reflected on my own family and life and thought about how lucky I have been.”
The photograph generated a lot of attention when it first began circulating back in 2006. It is perhaps an indication of the photograph’s simple but powerful symbolism that it continues to circulate several years later.