Rescued POW arrives at Landstuhl for treatment

Pfc. Jessica Lynch, 19, of Palestine, W. Va., is carried from a U.S. Air Force C-17 cargo plane at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to a waiting ambulance. Lynch, a supply clerk with the Texas-based 507th Maintenance Co. was captured on March 23 when her unit was ambushed near Nasiriyah, Iraq. She was rescued in a U.S. commando raid on an Iraqi hospital on Tuesday.


By MARNI MCENTEE | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 4, 2003

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Pfc. Jessica Lynch, the 19-year-old Army supply clerk rescued from her Iraqi captors, was being treated Thursday at the Army’s hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, a spokeswoman said.

Lynch, of Palestine, W.Va., arrived at Ramstein Air Base early Thursday morning and was taken to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

Lynch is assigned to the Army’s 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company in Fort Bliss, Texas. More than a week ago, the unit made a wrong turn and was ambushed in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah. It had been supporting the advancing 3rd Infantry Division.

Twelve other members of the company were also feared captured. Five of them are officially listed as prisoners of war.

Hospital spokeswoman Millie Waters would not release any details about Lynch’s injuries. A Washington Post story Thursday said she had been shot several times during the ambush and also was stabbed.

A Landstuhl hospital news release said Lynch was in stable condition undergoing medical assessments and treatment by a team of specialists.

According to The Associated Press, the chief medic who monitored Lynch’s condition all the way from Kuwait to Germany summed up his assessment of her on Thursday: “She must be tough as nails.”

Air Force Capt. Shean Galvin told AP he was impressed with the way she battled her injuries, which he refused to describe, saying only that no vital organs had been damaged.

Members of the medical crew that accompanied her on the flight told AP she was smiling and spoke briefly with them. Lynch, under sedation, slept for most of the 8½-hour flight.

“She’s a very brave woman for 19,” said Tech. Sgt. Susan Hodges, adding that toughness was even more impressive because of her slight build. “She’s just a tiny little thing, just a beautiful little girl.”

AP also reported that while the medics and other officials skirted questions about Lynch’s condition, her injuries were certainly being taken seriously. She was closely monitored on the flight, and a “critical care air team” — including a doctor, nurse and respiratory specialist — was also on board.

She was being held at the Saddam Hussein Hospital near Nasiriyah. U.S. special operations forces rescued Lynch on Tuesday night during a raid on the hospital. No U.S. troops were injured in the raid.

Landstuhl Regional Medical Center is one of two hospitals in Europe treating troops wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom. As of Thursday, 97 troops with combat wounds have been treated at Landstuhl. An additional 15 battlefield casualties have been treated at a field hospital at Naval Station Rota, Spain.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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