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`Saving Private Lynch`

Posted April. 02, 2003 22:23,   


The U.S. public previously depressed by news of U.S. casualties and missing soldiers was in high spirits on Monday afternoon (local time) at the news of the rescuing of a 19 year old female soldier who was captured by Iraqi troops.

U.S. Central Command headquarters in Qatar held an unprecedented press conference handing out its press release on Tuesday at 3 a.m. (9 a.m. K.S.T.) to the U.S. media which had been thirsty for good news since the beginning of the war.

The rescued soldier was Jessica Lynch from the state of West Virginia. The 507th Maintenance Company which Lynch, private first class, belonged made a wrong turn on the supply line for Northern Coalition forces near Nasiriyah and was ambushed by Iraqi troops on March 23. Out of the 15 soldiers in the operation, 2 were killed and 5 were captured as broadcasted on Iraqi state TV, which shocked the U.S. public.

Lynch was one of the 8 missing soldiers whose fate was previously undetermined. The `Saving Private Lynch` operation was operated extremely quickly by a Special Forces team of Navy SEALS and Army Rangers supported by the CIA, which played a significant role in providing vital information.

The CIA searched every nook and cranny of Iraq using its agents and intelligence satellites, and found a description of Lynch from 507th Maintenance Company commanders, that she was detained at “Saddam Hospital” in Nasiriyah, located near the Euphrates River.

The hospital, 2km north of the Euphrates River and a strategic point for the Fedayeen Saddam paramilitaries, was within range of U.S. Marine Corps troops which were defending the supply line.

Just before midnight on Tuesday, U.S. Marines attacked the enemy with tanks and armored personnel carriers, hitting targets in the center of the city. Meanwhile a helicopter-borne team of Navy SEALS and Army Rangers swooped down quickly on the hospital.

As Lynch who had been shot 2 or 3 times was separated from the other U.S. soldiers, it was easy for the Special Forces team to rescue her. The U.S. has not yet released the exact location of Lynch and the rescue operations of other U.S. prisoners of war because of security reasons.

She was however allowed to phone her family. Yellow ribbons are seen in the Palestine region of West Virginia hoping for her safe return home. She first joined the U.S. Army 2 years ago, and it was her first overseas deployment.

“I was terrified to hear that she was missing, I will be at her welcome-home party for sure,” said James Staff Sgt. James Grady, the Army recruiter who enlisted Lynch.

Rae-Jeong Park ecopark@donga.com