Tom Little (optometrist)

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Tom Little

Thomas E. Little (March 20, 1949 – August 5, 2010)[1] was an American optometrist from Kinderhook, New York,[2] most widely known as the leader of an International Assistance Mission Nuristan Eye Camp team killed in the 2010 Badakhshan massacre.[3][4] The team was attacked in the Kuran wa Munjan District of Badakhshan Province, while returning from Nuristan to Kabul.

Little had worked in Afghanistan for over three decades and spoke Dari fluently.[5] He moved to Afghanistan in the late 1970s and raised his three daughters there.

Little was posthumously recognized as the 2010 International Optometrist of the Year by the World Council of Optometrists[2] and was one of 15 people awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for 2010.[6][7]

Personal life[edit]

Little, the son of an ophthalmologist, attended Ichabod Crane High School in Valatie, New York, where he dated Libby, the woman who later became his wife. In 1978 they traveled to Afghanistan. Although only intending to stay there for several months, he ultimately spent the next 30 years building up the country's eye care services during successive regime changes. The couple's three daughters were educated at Woodstock School in India. While most well known for his work in Afghanistan, Little was also an avid outdoorsman, equestrian, and environmentalist – most content in a canoe in the wilderness, usually someplace in the Adirondacks or Algonquin Provincial Park.[8]


  1. ^ "United States Social Security Death Index" database, 20 May 2014), Thomas E Little, 05 Aug 2010; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File).
  2. ^ a b 2010 International Optometrist of the Year from
  3. ^ Gannon, Kathy (8 August 2010). "British aid worker killed in massacre in Afghanistan". The Herald. Retrieved 8 August 2010. 
  4. ^ Nordland, Rod (7 August 2010). "10 Medical Aid Workers Are Found Slain in Afghanistan". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  5. ^ "Slain NY doctor was in Afghanistan for 3 decades". Greenwich Time. 7 August 2010. Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  6. ^ Announcing The 2010 Medal of Freedom Recipients, a November 17, 2010 blog post from the White House
  7. ^ Obama lauds Medal of Freedom recipients
  8. ^ Caruso, David B. (August 7, 2010). "Doctor from region slain in Afghanistan attack". Glens Falls Post-Star. Associated Press. Retrieved November 23, 2016.