The Wednesday Report, Canada's Aerospace and Defence Weekly
The Wednesday Report, Canada's Aerospace and Defence Weekly
Special Research Section - Gulf War

Incredible Valour - Gulf War II 

The Rescue of PFC Jessica Lynch  

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A Tale of Extraordinary Valour
The honour and courage of an Iraqi citizen, Army Rangers, Navy SEALS, U.S. Marines, USAF Pilots
and a junior-rank supply soldier:  

Rescuing Private Jessica Lynch

April 3 - Updated as indicated On 1 April a daring U.S. Forces raid rescued a 5' 5" 19-year-old Private from the Iraqi hands that according to early speculation had tortured her. 

An earlier discovery of PFC Lynch's bloodied uniform beside a blunt implement at another Ba'athist HQ location plus statements of a local who assisted with intelligence for the raid raised this suspicion.

September 2000 photo Jessica Lynch

Officials seem to be downplaying this soldier's story. 

Private Lynch's story is dwarfed by concern for five members of her unit held captive by unknown Iraqi factions of Saddam Hussein's Feda`iyien. Private Jessica Lynch's full account awaits its telling by the soldier herself.

Since March 23, Private First Class Jessica Lynch (19) of Palestine, West Virginia had been reported Missing In Action (MIA) when a convoy of the 507th Maintenance Company was ambushed after a wrong turn near the Iraqi city of Nassiriya.

A team of Marines that tried to rescue the missing convoy on the day of the ambush discovered burning vehicles and several wounded soldiers.

The maintenance support unit was ambushed near Nassiriya --a Euphrates River-crossing city-- where sporadic battles raged since troops first reached it during early fighting in "Operation Iraqi Freedom".

In a tormenting revelation, five members of Private Lynch's unit, including one other female soldier, were later shown on Iraqi television and on Qatar-based Al Jazeera Arab TV network. In the video they were answering questions under obvious duress from their Iraqi captors

In the same atrocious video clip were four executed soldiers, two of whom clearly had visible bullet holes in the centre of their foreheads

Private Lynch, who drove a water tanker in the convoy, was not seen among the five Prisoners of War shown on Iraqi TV. She had been listed MIA, not POW and her family had no idea whether she was alive or dead. Her hometown of Palestine, West Virginia was quickly tied in yellow ribbons from one end to the other.

Early (April 3, 2003) efforts at piecing together the details of Private Lynch's story yields a fascinating tale of courage about a POW, an Iraqi man and his family; and a commando rescue team.

Several pieces of ominous evidence were collected in the time since Pvt. Lynch's whereabouts became unknown. Marines raided a hidden military-style HQ in a hospital building near Nassiriya where other members of Lynch's unit had been videotaped and later shown on Iraqi TV. Marines found at least one shredded woman's uniform spattered with blood and the name patch torn off.

Marines were led to the missing soldier by a tip from an Iraqi man whose wife was a nurse at the the "Saddam Hospital" facility, a so-called hospital. Working undercover, this brave Iraqi coded as "Mohammed"  returned to the hospital to gather intelligence, including the number of Iraqi troops (41) guarding the building, the layout of the building and the room in which Lynch was guarded by four black-uniformed agents of the Saddam Fedaheen death squad. He then made his report to the Marines. This courageous man and his family have been granted U.S. refugee status and have been taken to a secure location. Meantime his home had  been raided and looted by Saddam Hussein's goons.

In the late evening of 1 April, Brigadier-General Vincent Brooks at Camp As Saliyah , Qatar announced in the press briefing room that, "Coalition forces have conducted a successful rescue mission of a U.S. Army prisoner of war held captive in Iraq. The soldier has been returned to a coalition controlled area. More details will be released as soon as possible."

Under cover of a diversionary Marine attack on the opposite side of the town, Special Forces raided the so-called hospital, believed to be a headquarters for Gen. Ali Hassan al-Majid, a cousin of dictator Saddam Hussein  known as 'Chemical Ali' for his preference for chemical weapons and his gassing of Iraqi Kurds in the late 1980s.

Members of a multi-service operation including the renowned Army Rangers and Navy SEALs with a unit of the 1st Marines Expeditionary Force pulled off the helicopter rescue apparently without a hitch. Like Private Lynch they are likely to be decorated.

The bodies of 11 other US troops were recovered in the operation, eight of which are believed to be members of the 507. In the so-called hospital they  also found a weapons cache and a large-scale sandbox model in the basement accurately depicting US and Iraqi troop positions in Nassiriya. 

(para. updated April 5) This first successful U.S. rescue of a U.S. Prisoner of War since World War II gave an enormous boost to morale throughout the coalition nations, particularly the US. The last-known successful POW rescue was when Army Rangers freed more than 500 POWs from a Japanese prison camp near Cabanatuan in the Philippines in 1945.

Lynch's family was told at about 6 p.m. on April 1 that the missing soldier had been rescued by American troops.

Members of the medical crew accompanying her on the 8.5-hour flight to Germany from Kuwait on 2 April said she appeared clear-headed, was smiling and alert, but didn't discuss her plight with them.

On April 3, Jessica Lynch began extensive surgery at a US military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. Attempts were being made to prepare her for a trip to the United States.

Micheal J. O'Brien, Editor 3 April 2003 12:23 EST.

Jessica Lynch - 507 Maint Co.

Jessica Lynch Rescue

PFC Jessica Lynch  
Private Lynch. Members of her unit fought fiercely and shot several enemy soldiers but were overwhelmed in the ambush.
Special Forces raided the hospital, believed to be a headquarters for Gen. Ali Hassan al-Majid

April 2, 2003 during a U.S. Central Command news conference in Doha, Qatar, Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks briefs the media on the rescue of POW Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch

British and American War Heroes - Jessica Lynch - Gulf War II Coverage - Images of War - The Wednesday Report
Wednesday, April 2, 2003, Special Forces Troopers carry Pvt. Lynch off the plane at  Landstuhl, Germany. Private First Class Jessica Lynch was rescued from enemy control 1 April and immediately transported to a safe area in Coalition control.
Jessica Lynch is carried on a stretcher by U.S. special forces
Private First Class Jessica Lynch is carried on a stretcher by U.S. special forces Tuesday night, April 1, 2003, as she is rescued more than a week after she and other members of her maintenance unit were captured in Iraq

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