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Friday, April 11

Rescued POW Jessica Lynch to return to U.S.

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

Updated 7:15 p.m., April 11

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Rescued POW Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch is in good spirits and expected to fly from Germany to the United States on Saturday to continue her recovery from injuries suffered in Iraq, military and family representatives said Friday.
Lynch, 19, and her family were to leave Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany shortly after 11 a.m. Saturday - 5 a.m. Eastern time - for the United States. She was expected to land at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, and check in to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.
The newest leg of the former prisoner of war's homecoming takes place 11 days after U.S. Special Operations forces rescued her from a hospital in Nasiriyah, Iraq. Lynch, a member of the Army's 507th Maintenance Company, fell into Iraqi hands when her unit was ambushed March 23. She was rescued April 1.
Military and family spokesmen said the supply clerk from Palestine, W.Va., was recovering nicely from a spinal injury and several fractures.
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Michael Briggs, a spokesman for Landstuhl's public affairs office, said Friday that Lynch's recovery from her injuries and surgeries is on track.
``Her condition and her spirits have improved to the point that she's sleeping well, she's sitting up and she's eating solid food,'' he said. ``She's in good spirits and she's talking and joking with her family.''
Lynch's parents, Greg Sr. and Deadra Lynch; her siblings, Greg Jr. and Brandi Lynch; a cousin, Danny Little; and Maj. Mike Cadle, public affairs officer for the West Virginia National Guard, flew to Germany to be with her.
Briggs said the Lynch family would leave the facility in a ``suitable hospital transport'' - an ambulance or similar vehicle - for the 15-minute ride to Ramstein Air Base. From there, they were to fly back to the United States on a plane due to depart at 1 p.m. (7 a.m. Eastern).
Air Force Maj. Mike Young, chief of public affairs for the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein, said the party would return on a C-17 Globemaster III, a four-engine cargo craft, to Andrews Air Force Base.
``That's normally where they go,'' he said.
If that is the case, the flight should take eight hours, putting the family's arrival in the states around 3 p.m. EDT Saturday.
Maj. Steve Stover, a spokesman with the media relations division of Army Public Affairs in the Pentagon, said the Lynch family does not want to be greeted ``by any form of media'' when they land at the Maryland base.
Meanwhile, Pam Nicolais said Greg Lynch Sr., her second cousin, called from Germany at 5 a.m. EDT Friday.
``He said they were doing physical therapy on Jessie,'' she said. ``He said she is in super spirits and doing really good. She has a long way to go, but they're really amazed at how good she is doing.''