Jerome, Richard; Heyman, J. D.; Bane, Jason; Kramer, Linda; O'Connor, Rose Ellen; Pollon, Zelie
August 2003
People;8/4/2003, Vol. 60 Issue 5, p48
Under a white tent in Elizabeth, West Virginia, Pfc. Jessica Lynch, 20, edged her wheelchair closer to a microphone and spoke publicly for the first time since her April 1, 2003 rescue from Iraqi captivity became world news. Lynch modestly used her time at the microphone to remember fallen comrades--in particular her best friend, Pfc. Lori Piestewa, 23, one of 11 members of the 507th Maintenance Company who died during the March 23 ambush. Accompanied by her father, Gregory, 43; mother, Dee, 41;brother Greg, 21, a fellow soldier; and sister Brandi, 18, Lynch, wearing a crisp Class A uniform and three new decorations--the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and the prisoner of war (POW) medal--climbed into a red Mustang convertible lent by the local Ford dealership for a triumphal five-mile drive-about through an adoring crowd. Some critics in the U.S. and Britain have charged that the Pentagon--anxious for some good news from the war in Iraq--either exaggerated details of her capture and rescue or at least failed to correct media reports the military knew to be overly dramatic. INSET: Deadly Ambush.


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