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Sunday, April 13

Lynch, family say prayers answered with return of POWs

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

WASHINGTON - Pfc. Jessica Lynch and her family rejoiced over the return of seven American prisoners of war as Lynch remained in satisfactory condition Sunday at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

The return of the seven POWs - five of whom were members of Lynch's 507th Maintenance Company - is an answer to prayers, Lynch and her family wrote in a prepared statement.

"To the families of these great troops, we'd like to offer you our assurances that they will receive the best care imaginable," they said.

The family added: "And - most of all - to America's great sons and daughters who continue the fight around the world, we'd like you to know your country's support for you will not waver. God bless America."

Maj. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, commanding general for the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command, did not release details about Lynch's recovery or give a definite length for her stay, but said he assumed she will stay in Washington for weeks rather than days.

Lynch, 19, and nine other wounded troops from Operation Iraqi Freedom arrived at Walter Reed Saturday. Lynch, who suffered broken legs, a broken arm and a spinal injury, will stay in the orthopedic ward and will undergo physical and emotional assessments that will continue today to determine her needs.

"I don't want to give a prognosis for Private Lynch, but I will say that the vast majority of people who come in with similar types of injuries have full or near full recoveries," he said.

As a former POW, she likely will receive some additional services related to the stresses she may have suffered, Kiley said.

The hospital "recognizes that POW status may bring some additional stress to an otherwise healthy individual," Kiley said. POWs could face a host of issues that could be medical, emotional or physical, he said.

"I won't begin to address any of the specifics of Private Lynch, but in previous experiences, we've come to understand that POWs do need some special treatment to integrate back into their unit, the military and society, and our experience has been very successful," Kiley said.

The family seemed to be in good spirits, and Lynch and all the troops appear to have handled their nine-hour flight from Germany well, he said. Lynch was resting comfortably Sunday, and her family is staying in facilities on the Walter Reed campus.