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Monday, July 21

Rescued POW Lynch awarded medals for Iraq actions


WASHINGTON - Wounded Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch, the first rescued prisoner of war in Iraq, was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and POW medals Monday at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

After receiving the medals, Lynch, scheduled for release from the medical center Tuesday, thanked the Walter Reed staff for the care she received during the past three months since her return from Iraq, according to a press statement.

Lynch, 20, was among seven soldiers taken captive after the 507th Maintenance Company was ambushed March 23 near Nasiriyah. Eleven other company members died in the action.

U.S. forces rescued the Army supply clerk from an Iraqi hospital several days later, reportedly after a tip from an Iraqi lawyer, and has been undergoing treatment at Walter Reed since April 12.

Lt. Gen. James B. Peake, the U.S. Army surgeon general, presented the award and spoke briefly to Lynch's family and gathered military personnel.

Peake said the Purple Heart is awarded to a person who has given more to his or her country than just service.

``They have given of themselves by going into harm's way,'' he said. ``The Bronze Star is given for meritorious service in combat and the POW Medal is one that very few people receive.''

Other members of Lynch's unit who were injured and held captive also received medals during a July 4 ceremony at Fort Bliss, Texas.