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Marine seeking medical items to establish clinic

Capt. Paul Webber is serving in Afghanistan
By: Gus Thomson/Journal Staff Writer
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A U.S. Marine from the foothills who has a knack of finding himself in the thick of the fray is asking area residents to help aid American efforts in Afghanistan. Capt. Paul Webber, a 1996 Del Oro High School graduate, is currently serving in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province. On Thursday, thousands of Marines there set out to battle control away from the Taliban as part of the first major push in President Barack Obama’s new regional strategy. Webber, on his fourth combat tour, is company commander of the 2nd Battalion 3rd Marine division. His father, retired Placer County Sheriff’s Sgt. Larry Webber, said his son has asked for help in establishing a bridge of friendship with local Afghanis by opening a medical clinic. While Capt. Webber and the Marines can’t afford to provide their own medical supplies for the clinic, Larry Webber said his son is making a call out for residents to provide rudimentary materials like bandages and pain relievers to help reach out to local residents in the village of Sultani Bakwa. Paul Webber earned a Bronze Star in 2005 for combat bravery during fighting in the Iraq city of Fallujah. A Christian Science Monitor reporter and photographer captured the drama of Webber’s role in reports back to the U.S. In a meeting last month, the Sultani Bakwa tribal elder was told that the Marines would replace doors they had kicked in during searches. The elder had suggested that the Marines could help bring back displaced village residents by establishing a clinic and reestablishing a bazaar, Larry Webber said. Webber, a longtime Newcastle resident, said he and his wife, Valerie, will do what they can and are hoping others will contact him for more information on what is needed and how they can send supplies to Afghanistan. His phone number is (916) 253-9859. Webber said his son sees the clinic as a way to win the “hearts and minds” of Afghanis. “They have to realize the Marines are there for them,” Webber said. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com.