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Saturday, April 5

Lynch family flies to Germany to be with rescued POW

By The (Huntington, W. Va.) Herald-Dispatch

CHARLESTON, W. Va. - A moment of joy turned into sorrow for Gregory Lynch Sr. on Saturday as he and his family prepared to fly to a German hospital for a long-awaited visit with his daughter, Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch, who was rescued from an Iraqi hospital Tuesday night.

Lynch, his wife Deadra, son Gregory and daughter Brandi greeted reporters from national and local media outlets Saturday afternoon at Charleston's Yeager Airport.

Their 19-year-old daughter had been missing in action since March 23 after her unit, the 507th Maintenance Company, came under attack near Nasiriyah in southern Iraq.

"We're looking forward to meeting up with our daughter and getting her back here,'' said Gregory Lynch Sr., 43. His wife, Deadra, 40, said she couldn't wait to see her daughter. The mother said she is happy, but also ``sad because of the circumstances.''

Then a reporter asked Gregory Lynch Sr. about his response to the news that several soldiers found dead during his daughter's rescue had been identified as members of her unit.

He said he was not aware of the latest news but ``our hearts are saddened.'' He then lost his composure and turned to his wife for comfort, clearly shaken by the news.

Jessica Lynch's miraculous rescue has been celebrated since Tuesday night in the family's hometown of Palestine, W.Va., and has drawn international media attention. But even during the celebrations, the Lynch family had prayed that the other missing members of their daughter's unit would return home safely, too.

Lynch then stepped away from the microphone, unable to continue with the news conference. He and his family were escorted to the private corporate jet by cousin Dan Little, who is accompanying the family to Germany.

Randy Coleman, communications director with the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, had informed reporters prior to the news conference that the Lynch family might not be aware of recent war updates because of the steady stream of friends and family and others who visited their home. The family is focused on seeing Jessica, he said.

Also before the conference, Coleman said the family had two phone calls with their daughter Friday night. Jessica Lynch has undergone surgery to her right arm and both legs. Her temperature was up to 104 degrees at one point, but by the second phone call, her temperature had dropped and she was doing better, Coleman said.

Doctors also discovered she had two entry and exit gunshot wounds but they were not causing complications, Coleman said.

The Lynches are scheduled to arrive Sunday morning at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. Jessica Lynch is at the military's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

Maj. Mike Cadle, public affairs officer with the W.Va. National Guard, also is accompanying the family. Gregory Lynch Jr., 21, also is a private first class in the U.S. Army. Brandi Lynch, 18, a high-school senior, is enlisted in the U.S. Army as well.