Behind The Iraqi Orphans, A Soldier's Story

(CBS)
Tracy Smith is a CBS News correspondent based in New York.
Sometimes all the formal training in the world isn't as useful as what we learn from our family. I'm reminded of this occasionally when I'm covering a story and something happens that my fancy degrees in journalism didn't exactly prepare me for. When I have to rely on basic human instinct, or what my parents taught me, rather than what I read in a textbook. And I was reminded of it again this weekend, when I visited Ft Bragg, and a woman named Kara Smith.

Kara's husband Jason is a lieutenant with the 82nd Airborne unit that rescued 24 Iraqi orphans last week. They were special needs children who'd basically been left to die, starving and naked, chained to cribs. The soldiers brought them to safety, got them cleaned up, and fed, and then visited them with toys and supplies. And one picture stood out: of Jason, brushing a little boy's teeth.

As Kara told me, that's not exactly the kind of skill they teach you in basic training. Jason learned that from her. You see, Kara's big brother Michael is mentally challenged. And one of the things that Kara does for Michael is brush his teeth.

It's such a simple thing, really. But, as Jason said, it's something these kids will remember for the rest of their lives. That someone cared enough to brush their teeth for them. A skill Jason picked up from just watching the woman he loved care for her brother.