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On Monday July 21, 2003, Lynch was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Prisoner of War Medals at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. The Bronze Star is given for meritorious combat service, a Purple Heart is most often awarded to those wounded in combat, and the POW Medal for being held captive during wartime. These Medals are in addition to the Good Conduct Medal and Global War Against Terrorism Service Medal


April 3 2003 - Pfc. Jessica Lynch, rescued Tuesday from an Iraqi hospital, fought fiercely and shot several enemy soldiers after Iraqi forces ambushed the Army's 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company, firing her weapon until she ran out of ammunition, U.S. officials said yesterday.

LYNCH, A 19-YEAR-OLD supply clerk, continued firing at the Iraqis even after she sustained multiple wounds and watched several other soldiers in her unit die around her in fighting March 23, one official said. "She was fighting to the death," the official said. "She did not want to be taken alive." Lynch was not stabbed when Iraqi forces closed in on her position, the official said, although noting that initial intelligence reports indicated that she had been stabbed to death. The ambush took place after a 507th convoy, supporting the advancing 3rd Infantry Division, took a wrong turn near the southern city of Nasiriyah.

Lynch, of Palestine, W.Va., arrived yesterday at a U.S. military hospital in Germany. She was in "stable" condition, with a broken arm and two broken legs in addition to back injuries requiring surgery, sources said. Victoria Clarke, a Pentagon spokeswoman, gave no specifics of Lynch's condition, telling reporters only that she is "in good spirits and being treated for injuries." But one military officer briefed on her condition said that while Lynch was conscious and able to communicate with the U.S. commandos who rescued her, "she was pretty messed up." Last night Lynch spoke by telephone with her parents, who said she was in good spirits, but hungry and in pain.

"Talk about spunk!" said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), whom military officials had briefed on the rescue. "She just persevered. It takes that and a tremendous faith that your country is going to come and get you." Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., called the rescue a miracle. "God watched over Jessica and her family," Rockefeller said through a spokesman in Washington. "All of West Virginia is rejoicing. This is an amazing tribute to the skill and courage of our military."

"You would not believe the joys, cries, bawling, hugging, screaming, carrying on," said Lynch's cousin, Pam Nicolais, when asked today about the rescue. "You just have to be here."

West Virginia University is offering to help a rescued prisoner of war fulfill her dream of becoming a teacher. University President David Hardesty says he and other school officials have been reading about how Lynch joined the Army to finance a college education. The university has made a scholarship offer to Jessica Lynch through a family friend. WVU mementos and a note, tied with a yellow ribbon, were also sent to the family's Palestine home.

Army Central Command spokesman Jim Wilkinson said: "We also have others, other POWs we are just as worried about. This is good news today but we need a lot more good news." "America doesn't leave its heroes behind," Wilkinson added. "Never has. Never will."

Medical Update - Friday, April 04, 2003
Associated Press

PALESTINE, W.Va — Former POW Pfc. Jessica Lynch suffered gunshot wounds when her convoy was attacked in Iraq, her family said Friday night.

The family of the 19-year-old supply clerk spoke Friday with doctors who treated Lynch at a hospital in Germany.

Word that Lynch suffered two entry and exit wounds contrasted the commander of the hospital, Col. David Rubenstein, who had said she was not shot or stabbed.

The wounds were found during treatment of her left leg and right arm for fractures and were "consistent with low-velocity, small-caliber rounds," such as a small rifle or handgun, said Dan Little, Lynch cousin.

"It's not a machine gun. It's not a large caliber-rifle. It's nothing like that," he said.

He said evidence of shrapnel was discovered next to bones, but he didn't know exactly where on the arm or leg. Little said he didn't get into specifics with the doctors.

"We just talked straight with the doctor. We were concerned about her well-being," he said.

Lynch's 507th Maintenance Company convoy was attacked March 23 when it made a wrong turn in southern Iraq. Lynch was rescued during a daring raid Tuesday after the military was tipped that she was being held in an Iraqi hospital.

The family received permission from doctors to see her and plan to fly on Saturday from Charleston, W.Va., to Germany. Little said he couldn't divulge how many were going.

Lynch was receiving treatment Friday at the military's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

She had a back operation Thursday and surgery for other broken bones Friday. She suffered a head wound and fractures in her right arm, both legs, her right foot and ankle, and an injury to her spine.

Rods and pins were placed in her arm and broken legs, and she underwent a CAT scan "to make sure everything was intact after they took care of the fractures," Little said.

In addition, "she had a little infection because of the open wound and the environment she was in," Little said.

The family had become frustrated about a lack of medical updates on the teenager, who joined the Army right out of high school to earn money so she can attend college and become a kindergarten teacher.

Now, "the family is upbeat," Little said.

"I think if you were to put yourself in their position and one of your loved ones was outside your immediate reach and injured ... you would want to wrap your arms around them too, and be able to hear progress, hour by hour, minute by minute," he said.

Although her body is on the mend, she may never recall the details of her capture and subsequent rescue, said her brother, Greg Lynch Jr.

"She probably remembers the initial attack and then anything after that she was probably in pain and misery and doesn't want to remember anything about that," he said.

The family continues to hold an evening prayer session for her and the other members of the 507th convoy who were captured, killed or remain missing in action.

"That's what brought Jessi back," said her father, Greg Lynch Sr., "and it will bring them back too."

But getting Lynch back to Wirt County, which has a population of nearly 5,900 residents, is foremost on the family's mind.

"Getting Jessi home to Wirt County is all we care about," her brother said.

~ © 2003 - David L Griffith ~

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