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Tuesday, April 8

Former POW doing well, but saying little about ordeal

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

The family of Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch says the former POW is doing well, but she has told them little about her ordeal and is not aware that her story has made national headlines.

"It really felt good once we'd seen her and seen the spirit she's been in,'' her father, Greg Lynch Sr., told reporters outside the Landstuhl, Germany, Regional Medical Center at a Tuesday news conference. "We knew then she would be all right.''

Greg Lynch Sr. said the family hasn't talked much to his 19-year-old daughter about what happened after her unit, Army's 507th Maintenance Co., was ambushed March 23.

"I don't think reality has really hit her yet,'' he said. "When she's ready to tell us something, she will.''

The Palestine, W.Va., residents traveled to Germany on Saturday, where Jessica Lynch is recovering in a military hospital after her dramatic rescue from an Iraqi hospital in Nasiriyah last week.

Her family says she remains unaware that her name has become a household word since she became the first American prisoner of war to be rescued from behind enemy lines since World War II.

"Right now, we're bringing her in slowly,'' her 21-year-old brother said. "She doesn't realize how big this has become. She's not into where she's reading a lot of magazines and watching news. They kind of isolated her from that, and we're kind of slowly bringing her up to what she needs to be and we just don't want to bring it in too fast for her.''

Nor is Jessica Lynch aware of what could be an incredible future for her - a free college education, a new car, book, and movie deals and such.

"We're not really mentioning anything they've offered,'' Greg Lynch Jr. said. "She's wanting to get back on her feet, and that's the way we want to see her. We want to see her get back to normal. When she's ready for all that, I'm sure she'll pick up the paper and read it herself.''

The family reunion in Jessica Lynch's hospital room Sunday morning was emotional.

"There was tears,'' Greg Lynch Jr. said. "I had shed a few tears before, but it hit me hard when I walked in that room and it hit the whole family. It was just good to see her face and the condition, that she was in good shape. It's a lot better than a conversation on the phone.''

Jessica Lynch's family was accompanied by sister, Brandi, 18; a cousin, Danny Little; and Maj. Mike Cadle, public affairs officer of the West Virginia National Guard. Her brother also said that Jessica Lynch has had a friend from her unit with her since she was flown out of Iraq.

"She's been by her side 24-7. It's just phenomenal support from her and her unit.''

Jessica Lynch sustained a head wound, spinal injury and fractures to her right arm, both legs and her right foot and ankle, but the hospital reports her condition as stable and her family said she's doing well.

"She looked real good, real cheerful,'' said Deadra Lynch, her mother. "It was better than I expected.''

Family members said her focus still is on others. The bodies of seven members of her unit were discovered during her rescue.

"She is aware of the fate of the other members of the 507th and the POWs,'' Greg Lynch Jr. said. "She's real concerned for them, but she's in a state where she doesn't want to talk much about that. She's looking out for others and not for herself. "

He said that is typical of her character.

"I'm very surprised that she's still trying hard to get herself on her feet, but still she's more concerned for others as well.''