May. 19, 2004
S.D. Nurse helped U.S. capture Saddam
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - She didn't know it at the time, but a South Dakota nurse who treated Iraqis injured in a car crash helped U.S. authorities capture Saddam Hussein.
South Dakota Air National Guard Lt. Doria Gregg, now back home helping cancer patients at Sioux Valley Hospital, spent four months working in a makeshift hospital outside of Kirkuk.
She was in surgery when word came that three critically injured Iraqis were on their way. Their car had just hit an Army Humvee and they needed surgery to repair fractured legs and internal organs.
Gregg and her colleagues did what they could to stabilize them.
"At first they thought we were harming them, but we weren't - we were just helping them," she told KELO-TV. "They didn't know English; we didn't know what they were speaking.
"Then we got the translator in and he just relayed to them, we're saving their lives. They became very grateful for what we did."
After their transfers to local hospitals, the civilians gave military officials the tip of all tips - Saddam's hiding place.
"We were kind of all in shock, like we did that, because we were just doing our jobs," Gregg said. "We treated them just like we treated anyone else."
Details of Saddam's capture were so secret at the time that Gregg didn't even realize she played a part in it. A month later, Gregg and her fellow Guard members gathered in a room and were given the news.
Gregg received a special certificate from the military reading: "By treating these injured Iraqis with the highest standard of care, you directly contributed to the capture and detainment of the Ace of Spades."
Gregg says she's somewhat embarrassed about all the attention.
"The heroes are the ones who aren't coming home, that are still over there and the ones who actually caught him," she said. "I was just doing my job."