Thursday, April 03, 2003

Rescued POW Jessica Lynch Did Not Want to Be Taken Alive, Army Says

Today's Washington Post reports that the recently rescued POW, 19-year-old Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch, continued fighting the Iraqi soldiers who ambushed her unit, Army 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company, even after receiving several gunshot wounds and three broken limbs. And when she was finally subdued and captured, she was stabbed in the process. But she had already taken out two Iraqi soldiers:

"She was fighting to the death," [an Army] official said. "She did not want to be taken alive."

...Several officials cautioned that the precise sequence of events is still being determined, and that further information will emerge as Lynch is debriefed. Reports thus far are based on battlefield intelligence, they said, which comes from monitored communications and from Iraqi sources in Nasiriyah whose reliability has yet to be assessed. Pentagon officials said they had heard "rumors" of Lynch's heroics but had no confirmation.

...Lynch, of Palestine, W.Va., arrived yesterday at a U.S. military hospital in Germany. She was in "stable" condition, with broken arms and a broken leg in addition to the gunshot and stab wounds, sources said. Other sources said both legs and one arm were broken. 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."

One Army official said that it could be some time before Lynch is reunited with her family, since experience with those taken prisoner since the Vietnam War indicates that soldiers held in captivity need time to "decompress" and reflect on their ordeal with the help of medical professionals.

"It's real important to have decompression time before they get back with their families to assure them that they served their country honorably," the official said. "She'll meet with Survival, Escape, Resistance and Evasion psychologists. These are medical experts in dealing with this type of things."

...One intriguing account of Lynch's captivity came from an unidentified Iraqi pharmacist at Saddam Hussein Hospital who told Sky News, a British network, that he had cared for her and heard her crying about wanting to be reunited with her family.

In other news, the Governor Bob Wise of Pfc. Lynch's home state of West Virginia has announced that the state government will "see that she becomes" the kindergarten teacher she wants to become by paying for her college education at any West Virginia public college or university of her choosing.

We salute this brave young woman, and all our troops in the war against Saddam, and wish her the very best of God's blessings.

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