“Ma, It was Really Neat. But It was Kind of Gross”

In February 1995, John Firneno, at the time a 20-year-old Army private, first class, from Centerville, Utah, was stationed in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. While patrolling the streets, he saw a Haitian woman in labor. He and his companions jumped out of the Humvee and helped her deliver a healthy baby boy. The mother told Private Firneno that she would name the boy after him. In a speech to U.S. troops stationed in Haiti, then-President Bill Clinton said, “I met Pfc. John Firneno, a [combat] medic from the 32 ACR. He was on patrol about midnight last month when he came upon a young Haitian woman about to give birth. Now, that requires courage. As his comrades clustered around him with flashlights, he helped to deliver an eight-pound baby boy. Well, he didn’t get a medical degree, but the boy now bears his name. Thank you, Private Firneno.” Linda Firneno, Private Firneno’s mother, who had been an Air Force nurse, said about him, “He said, ‘Ma, it was really neat. But it was kind of gross.’” Private Firneno’s friend Helen Langan said, “In the letter he sent me [relating the incident] he signed his name, then under it he put ‘Doc’ in parentheses.”

For Further Information: Alan Edwards, “UTAHN’S GOOD DEED GIVES BIRTH TO LOTS OF PUBLICITY.” Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah). 31 March 1995


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