Seven American POWs Returned to U.S. Control
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Apr. 13, 2003 DoD officials identified the seven American prisoners of war found in northern Iraq today as five members of the 507th Maintenance Company and two Apache helicopter pilots.
Two of the seven have suffered gunshot wounds but are in good shape, said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Officials woke up President Bush with the good news this morning. He held an impromptu press availability at the White House. "Today is a great day for the families, comrades, loved ones of the seven missing in action who are free," he said.
The five soldiers from the 507th are Sgt. James J. Riley, 31, of Pennsauken, N.J.; Spc. Shoshana N. Johnson, 30, of El Paso, Texas; Spc. Edgar A. Hernandez, 21, of Mission, Texas; Spc. Joseph N. Hudson, 23, of Alamogordo, N.M.; and Pfc. Patrick W. Miller, 23, of Walter, Kan.
The two Apache pilots, Chief Warrant Officers David S. Williams and Ronald D. Young, are members of the 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation at Fort Hood, Texas.
The 507th members had been captured when their convoy took a wrong turn and was ambushed in Nasiriyah March 23. The pilots had been captured near Karbala on March 23.
Marines moving up for an attack on Tikrit were tipped off to the presence of American POWs by Iraqis, said U.S. Central Commander chief Army Gen. Tommy Franks on CNN's "Late Edition."
The Marines moved into the area and found the soldiers walking along a road near Samarra. They flew the former POWs to an airfield in southern Iraq and transferred them to a C-130 transport plane. They were then moved to Kuwait for medical treatment and an intelligence debriefing.
Rescued POW Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch, now being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., is also a member of the 507th, which is based in Fort Bliss, Texas. Lynch was rescued from an Iraqi hospital April 2.
The president said the United States will keep looking for American service members still missing in Iraq. "We pray that they too will be safe and free one of these days," he said. But it's just a good way to start off the morning, to have been notified that seven of our fellow Americans are going to be home here pretty soon in the arms of their loved ones."