Support our mission

ARLINGTON, Va. — Pfc. Jessica Lynch, an American soldier listed as missing last week, was rescued Tuesday, Pentagon officials confirmed Tuesday night.

In a surprise announcement by U.S. Central Command officials in Doha, Qatar, Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks said that the U.S. soldier had been “returned to a coalition-controlled area.”

Brooks declined to name the servicemember, but Pentagon officials said the prisoner is 19-year-old Lynch, who officially has been listed as “missing in action” since March 23.

Lynch, who is part of the 507th Maintenance Company, based in Fort Bliss, Texas, and other members of her company were ambushed March 23 after their convoy apparently took a wrong turn in southern Iraq.

Lynch, from Palestine, W.Va., was rescued by Special Forces somewhere near Nasiriyah, Pentagon officials said.

Pentagon officials have confirmed that seven American servicemembers are prisoners of war. They are:

U.S. Army Spc. Joseph Hudson, 24, of the 507th Maintenance Company.

U.S. Army Pfc. Patrick Miller, 23, of the 507th Maintenance Company.

U.S. Army Spc. Shoshana Johnson, 30, of the 507th Maintenance Company.

U.S. Army Spc. Edgar Hernandez, 21, of the 507th Maintenance Company.

U.S. Sgt. James Riley, 31, of the 507th Maintenance Company.

U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer David S. Williams, 30, of Florida.

U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Ronald D. Young, 26, of Georgia.

Williams and Young were flying their Apache helicopter when it went down March 24 near Karbala, about 60 miles southwest of Baghdad. A search-and-rescue operation was launched immediately after their helicopter was lost, but it had to be called off due to heavy Iraqi fire in the area.

Another 15 American servicemembers officially are missing in action.

Lynch’s family rejoiced Tuesday at word of her rescue.

“They said it was going to be the biggest party this road had ever seen,” Lynch’s cousin Sherri McFee said as fire and police sirens blared in the background in celebration in Palestine. The family was notified about 7 p.m.

“Everybody was really worried, normal concerns and everything like that. But we all remained hopeful and knew she would be home,” McFee said.

“It’s a miracle,” said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. “God watched over Jessica and her family. All West Virginians are rejoicing. … This is a testament to the amazing skill and courage of our military.”

The 19-year-old supply clerk is known for her smile and her laugh. Friends and family in Palestine, about 70 miles north of Charleston, call her Jesse. She’s “every mother’s dream of a teenager daughter,” said Lorene Cumbridge, a cousin.

“She’s just a West Virginia country girl. Warm-hearted. Outgoing,” said Cumbridge, 62.

“She’s everyone’s baby,” said family friend Don Nelson. “She loved her country, too, and was ready to serve it. That is what my country wants, kids like her. She is a true hero in my eyes.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Stripes in 7

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up