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More Details on Lynch Rescue, 11 Bodies Found

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2003 – Coalition special operations forces rescued Army Pfc. Jessica D. Lynch from the hands of her Iraqi captors during a mission into the town of Nasiriyah, U.S. Central Command officials said today.

Lynch was held at the Saddam Hospital a facility used by the regime as a military post said Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, Central Command's deputy chief of operations, during a press conference in Qatar.

Lynch, 19, is assigned to the 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company, based at Fort Bliss, Texas. Lynch had been missing since March 23, when irregular Iraqi forces ambushed the convoy she was riding in. Central Command officials said the convoy took a wrong turn around Nasiriyah and was ambushed by civilian-clothed Iraqi soldiers.

Brooks said Army Rangers, Air Force combat controllers, Navy SEALs and Marines participated in the mission. There were no coalition casualties. "It was a classic joint operation done by some of our nation's finest warriors who are dedicated to never leaving a comrade behind," he said.

The raiders also found 11 bodies at the hospital, Brooks said. Two were found in the morgue and nine others were buried in a nearby graveyard.

"Coalition forces were escorted to those locations by someone who was taken into custody during the assault," he said. "At this point, we're doing additional forensic examination and medical examination as to who they might be."

There were no firefights inside the hospital, but plenty of action outside, Brooks said. The forces found mortars, ammunition, maps, terrain models and other equipment, making it clear Iraqi forces were using the hospital as a military headquarters.

Army officials said Lynch is being flown to Germany for further treatment.

"She is safe, she has been retrieved, and some brave souls put their lives on the line to make it happen," Brooks said. "They are loyal to a creed that they know, that they will never leave a fallen comrade and never embarrass their country."

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