Rescued POW Jessica Lynch, others return to U. S.

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 13, 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) - Jessica Lynch, the soldier rescued in a daring commando raid in Iraq, returned to the United States on Saturday to recover from her head-to-toe injuries at the Army's premier medical center.

Lynch, 19, was taken by ambulance from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, a huge campus several miles from downtown Washington.

Some four-dozen wounded soldiers also were on the flight from Germany.

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The former POW from Palestine, W.Va. was carried on a stretcher down the rear cargo ramp of the huge C-17 aircraft, while her parents entered a van. A convoy that included several security vehicles then drove her to the hospital.

Hospital officials said they expected to hold a news conference Sunday.

Her family said in a written statement issued in Germany that Lynch ''is in pain, but she is in good spirits. Although she faces a lengthy rehabilitation, she is tough. We believe she will regain her strength soon.''

Lynch was treated at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany for a head wound, a spinal injury, fractures to her right arm, both legs, and her right foot and ankle. Gunshots may have caused open fractures on her upper right arm and lower left leg, according to the hospital.

The supply clerk was captured March 23 after her 507th Maintenance Company convoy was ambushed in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah. She was rescued from an Iraqi hospital in the city April 1 by U.S. commandos, reportedly after a tip from an Iraqi lawyer.