St. Petersburg Times Online
Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies


Father says rescued POW wasn't shot or stabbed

©Associated Press

April 4, 2003

PALESTINE, W.Va. -- The father of rescued POW Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch said Thursday she was in great spirits after her first surgery and said doctors told him she had not been shot or stabbed during her ordeal.

"We have heard and seen reports that she had multiple gunshot wounds and a knife stabbing. The doctor has not seen any of this," Gregory Lynch Sr. said. "There's no entry (wounds) whatsoever."

Lynch said his 19-year-old daughter, who is at a military hospital in Germany, had surgery on her back.

"She didn't have any feeling in her feet," he said outside his home in this West Virginia hamlet. More surgery was scheduled for today on her fractured legs and right arm, he said.

The family spent several hours with Pentagon officials discussing her time in Iraq. They hoped to learn more about what happened on March 23, when her 507th Maintenance Company convoy was attacked after making a wrong turn in southern Iraq.

Also waiting for news are family members with loved ones in the 507th, based at Fort Bliss, Texas: Seven soldiers remained missing Thursday, five were listed as prisoners of war and two others were confirmed killed.

The military has said 11 bodies were found during Lynch's rescue from an Iraqi hospital Tuesday, and some were believed to be Americans.

Gregory Lynch said he had not discussed his daughter's captivity with her during telephone conversations.

"They have successfully done one surgery on her. There will be other surgeries. It's going to take time and patience. She's in real good spirits."

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Lynch shot several Iraqi soldiers during the firefight and kept firing until she ran out of ammunition. Pentagon officials declined to comment on the report.

Lynch left Iraq on a stretcher with an American flag folded across her chest, and arrived at a U.S. air base in Germany late Wednesday for treatment at the military's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

Members of the medical crew that accompanied her on the 81/2-hour flight to Germany from Kuwait said she appeared clear-headed, smiling and alert, but didn't discuss her plight.

"She must be as hard as nails," said Air Force Capt. Shean Galvin.

The family said they are not sure when Lynch will be flown to the United States. They decided against a trip to Germany.

"We want that to be on Jessi's terms," her father said. "When she is ready, I'm sure she will let us know and we'll be on the way."

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.