Iraq medical ward named after fallen NZ Soldier

The resuscitation bay at the medical centre in Iraq’s Camp Taji has been named after Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, who was killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2012. Credit: Australian Defence Force

The resuscitation bay at the medical centre in Iraq’s Camp Taji has been named after Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, New Zealand’s first female soldier killed in action since the Vietnam War.

Lance Corporal Baker, a New Zealand Army medic, was killed in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan province in 2012, when the vehicle she was in hit an improvised explosive device on the road.

The newly named resuscitation bay replaces the Jacinda Baker Medical Ward at the same medical centre, which had been repurposed.

On what would have been her 33rd birthday, New Zealand and Australian troops comprising Task Group Taji gathered to remember her and other New Zealand soldiers who had paid the ultimate sacrifice, at the official unveiling of the newly named ward name.

Senior Medic Staff Sergeant Jeremy Boyd, who knew Lance Corporal Baker, said it was a fitting tribute.

“Jacinda was all about doing her job, which was looking after soldiers and is what we do at the Taji Medical Centre. So it’s a good way to remember that,” Staff Sergeant Boyd said.

“If she had to get a patient somewhere and anyone got in the way, she would steamroll them. She was all about treating the patient — no nonsense, just crack on with the job and get out there.”

The medical centre’s resuscitation bay is used to treat and stabilise patients with life-threatening conditions and prepare them for potential medical evacuation.

About 100 New Zealand Defence Force soldiers and 300 Australian Defence Force troops comprise Task Group Taji, which has been helping train Iraqi Security Forces personnel since May 2015 for their fight against Islamic State.

Senior Medic Staff Sergeant Jeremy Boyd, who knew Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, said it was a fitting tribute to the fallen New Zealander soldier. Credit: Australian Defence Force
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