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Lynch Gets Family Visit in Germany

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2003 – Former prisoner of war Army Pfc. Jessica D. Lynch today saw members of her family as she continues to recover from her injuries at a U.S. military hospital in Germany.

In a news conference today, Lynch's father, Greg Sr., said he was impressed with his daughter's morale and condition. The soldier, who hails from Palestine, W.V., is undergoing treatment at Landstuhl Regional Medical Centers.

He said her spirits were "real high" and family members were "really glad to see her condition" because they had figured she was "a lot worse."

"She looks real good, real cheerful," added Deadra Lynch, Jessica's mother, noting her daughter's condition "was better than I expected."

Taken prisoner by Iraqi irregular fighters on March 23 near Nasiriyah, the 19-year-old Lynch was rescued April 1 by U.S. special operations troops.

"We just want to say thanks to everybody that took part in the rescue … we still give out our prayers for not only the troops in Iraq, but (those) all over the world," emphasized Jessica's brother, Greg Jr., who's also an Army private first class.

The Americans had received a tip to the captured soldier's whereabouts from a sympathetic Iraqi citizen who'd seen the bedridden Lynch getting slapped about by an irate Iraqi officer. This action, U.S. officials point out, is a direct violation of the Geneva Conventions of 1949. President Bush and other senior U.S. officials have vowed to apprehend and try anyone in Iraq who commits war crimes.

Lynch and other members of a U.S. Army 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company from Fort Bliss, Texas, were in a convoy ambushed March 23 after taking a wrong turn during action near Nasiriyah.

Twelve U.S. soldiers were originally reported as missing after the ambush. Shortly afterward, Iraqi state-controlled television broadcast a video of what appeared to be captured U.S. troops. Other video allegedly showed the bodies of dead U.S. soldiers.

Lynch and many of her fellow soldiers were first reported as whereabouts unknown, missing in action. It was subsequently discovered that five of her fellow 507th soldiers were taken prisoner by the Iraqi irregulars.

When Lynch was rescued from the Iraqi hospital where she was being held captive, an Iraqi physician showed the special operations troops where some bodies were buried nearby. Most were members of Lynch's unit who'd been killed in the attack.

Some U.S. officials believe, after viewing the Iraqi video of the dead U.S. soldiers, that the Iraqis executed some of the U.S. troops after they'd surrendered.

As of April 8, according to DoD, the Iraqi regime now holds seven U.S. service members, all soldiers, captive as prisoners of war: Sgt. James Joseph Riley, 31, Pennsauken, N.J.; Spc. Edgar Adan Hernandez, 21, Mission, Texas; Spc. Joseph Neal Hudson, 23, Alamogordo, N.M.; Spc. Shoshana Nyree Johnson, 30, El Paso, Texas; and Pfc. Patrick Wayne Miller, 23, Walter, Kan., all from the 507th.

Apache helicopter pilots Army Chief Warrant Officer David S. Williams and Army Chief Warrant Officer Ronald D. Young, Jr., were reported as prisoners of war on March 24. Both are assigned to 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas.

ENDS


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