After Joey left, Bandar began working at the less dangerous base hospital. He apparently had a falling-out with another Iraqi - the details are not clear - and suddenly, he was without a job and without protection. He'd already seen friends and colleagues killed. He feared he'd be next.
It was spring 2007 when he called Joey.
In turn, Joey contacted his father, Jim, a real estate agent in Bend, Ore., who vividly remembers his son's voice, thick with emotion, saying: "'Dad, I've got to get him out of there. We've got to do something.'"
Jim Coon needed no convincing.
While his son was still in Iraq, he'd helped Iraqis by organizing a shoe drive with friends and family, collecting 2,000 pairs, along with clothes and toys. He shipped a giant package to Joey, who handed out the goods in schools and villages.
But this was different - in many ways.
Unlike most other Iraqis who depend on resettlement agencies or relatives to make their way here, Bandar was counting on Joey and a special program that helps translators.
It was no simple task: Joey had to decipher complicated immigration laws, plow through a blizzard of documents and acquire a general's letter to snare one of a small number of special immigrant visas being granted to translators that year.
As he plugged away, he never provided Bandar with any specifics, unless the news was good.
But Bandar's anxiety was palpable in his e-mails.
"Hi, whats up joey how are you," he wrote in July 2007, "... i need know what you do for me... you are may only hope in may life pleas dont forget me ..."
"I would never forget you," Joey responded, adding that he was talking with a friend about how to get him a visa. "Stay strong and be very safe."
Bandar's fears of being forgotten were understandable. Iraqis had seen soldiers come and go, making promises that were broken, sometimes through no fault of their own.
Joey sent Bandar money so he could temporarily move to Kurdistan, where it was safer. But Bandar didn't understand the language there and didn't have a job, so he headed to Baghdad, where he hid out, sleeping during the day and watching TV at night.
His frustration and isolation filled a February 2008 e-mail.
"Joey ... i Dont have place in my country. and i cant continuous like this," he wrote. "... i am with out freedom now i cannot move and i cannot do anything. brother this is my life now. hope you can doing something ... Dont forget me i am your brother."
Rescuing Bandar soon blossomed into a team project.
Teresa Statler, a Portland immigration lawyer who already had helped two Iraqi translators come to America, set out to do the same for Bandar.
Reaching him wasn't always easy; he was reluctant to open and scan American documents in the Internet cafe in Baghdad where he read his e-mail. Statler improvised, once sending a giant packet of materials to a Baghdad hotel, where he picked them up.
Jason Faler, the Oregon Guard captain who established The Checkpoint One Foundation to help Iraqi translators, set up a DASH fund so contributors had a place to send checks.
Faler also contacted a general who'd served in Afghanistan to get a recommendation letter required for the visa. He told him he had vetted Bandar and felt he was a strong candidate. Joey also wrote a letter vouching for Bandar's character, loyalty and skill.
In the spring of 2008, Faler, in Washington on business, met Joey, who had moved to the nation's capital to be director of student programs at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. He offered some parting advice.
"I said, 'Joey, the job does not end when your interpreter gets to the U.S.,'" Faler recalls. "In fact, it has only just begun."
That summer, back in Bend, Joey joined his family in hosting a fundraiser barbecue. He introduced a video featuring Bandar working, smiling, even doing a bit of jig.
At the end, though, the young translator looks directly into the camera and makes a heartfelt plea: "Bandar cannot stay here in Iraq ... Maybe the bad guys will kill me."
When the video ended, Joey says, "there wasn't a dry eye on the house - including mine."
The word that Bandar had been issued a visa came in a March e-mail.
"'Bandar, my brother!!!!" Joey wrote, announcing the news. "... I'm so happy for you ... It's been a long, hard struggle, but I think we've finally made it."
"Oh My God, is that true?" Bandar recalls thinking as the message popped up on his computer screen in Iraq.
"I really Cry when i see the e.mail," he wrote back to Joey, reminding him: "you Still my Big Brother." Bandar is 24 and Joey 28, though he could pass for a decade younger.
At the American Embassy in Baghdad, officials handed Bandar a large sealed envelope of documents and offered their congratulations.
He clutched the package tightly and instead of waiting for a bus that would take him to the gate that protects the Green Zone, he just ran. And ran.