Skip to comments.First Female Black POW Speaks Out in Book
Posted on 02/05/2010 6:12:09 PM PST by Redcitizen
(AP) Shoshana Johnson survived gunshot wounds to both legs and 22 days as a prisoner of war in Iraq. Life wasn't so easy when she came home, either.
In a new book out this week, the 37-year-old single mother describes mental health problems related to her captivity and tells how it felt to play second fiddle in the media to fellow POW Jessica Lynch, who was captured in the same ambush.
"It was kind of hurtful," the former Army cook said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "If I'd been a petite, cutesy thing, it would've been different."
Page 2- She had severely injured her shoulder in a training exercise and was recovering from surgery. But Piestewa knew her roommate was nervous about going into a war zone. And there were the other members of her unit to consider. So Piestewa decided to argue her way into deployment. Her kids were safe in Tuba City. The 507th was her family now, and it was in danger. She told her brother Wayland she had a feeling that Lynch or someone else in the company was going to get into trouble in Iraq. She wanted to be in a position to help.
Lynch told Piestewa it was OK, she didnt have to go. But she had made up her mind.
"You have to I have to," Piestewa told her roommate. She went to her superiors and lied about her shoulder, saying it had healed. She was returned to active duty.
God bless them all for doing their duty to the best of their abilities.
“If I’d been a petite, cutesy thing, it would’ve been different.”
The petty wench lost me right there. Screw this. Getting captured does NOT a hero make....and to compound it with such pettiness......I’d better shut up now or I’ll get into big trouble here.
Have zero memory of her.
What a whinny twerp.
So she got herself killed for nothing. War isn't a sport where you can play hurt, it's life or death for all participants.
From what I heard Lynch suffered the worst from her captors.
Ms. Johnson, the press did you a favor, otherwise you'd be 10x more traumatized, guaranteed!
Anybody with a better memory than mine:
There was another hero that took out several Iraqis with his gun before he was captured along with the rest of the group. He kept singing a song and it irritated the hell out of his guards. I remember he was a blond kid that looked no older than 20.
I remember the total fear that this girl had on her face as she was taken captive and filmed.
I would never think that I could judge her. She did her job and did it honorably. To me, she deserves a hell of a lot of respect and support.
Being a petite, cutesy thing, always makes a difference. Even in the military. Been there, know that for a fact.
And no, I think you’re OK, Mr. RightOnline. I understand what you’re saying. It is just that I understand too, from exactly where she is coming in her statement.
The problem with Lynch is that she totally went coward and at least contributed to the deaths of the top NCO and the others in her Humvee.
One girl was driving while the sergeant was trying to think and to fight while two males jumped in the back and were trying to fire up a SAW, while Lynch describes herself as screaming, panicking getting in the floor board and never firing.
The driver rammed into another vehicle killing everyone except for Lynch.
The MSM sure is careful to leave out that women POW’s get raped over and over as a matter of course in Muslim countries. Remember that story from Iran where girl dissidents being raped because your not supposed to execute virgins? (I hear there are 27 young women on ‘death row’ in Iran)
Just understand the MSM is never going to make a big deal that women in combat are going to be brutalized if they’re captured.
“”DOTHAN, Ala., June 24 On a cold night during her weeklong captivity in Iraq in the Persian Gulf war, Maj. Rhonda Cornum was loaded into a pickup truck with another American prisoner of war, a young male sergeant, and taken from an underground bunker to a small prison. During the 30-minute drive, an Iraqi guard kissed her repeatedly, pulled a blanket over their heads so that they would not be seen, unzipped her flight suit and fondled her breasts.
Major Cornum, a 37-year-old flight surgeon and biochemist from upstate New York, had broken both arms, smashed her knee and had a bullet in her right shoulder as a result of the downing of her Army helicopter. She screamed in pain when the Iraqi tried to pull her flight suit down over her untreated and swollen arms. Before the ordeal was over, she told a Presidential commission on women in the military this month, she was “violated manually — vaginally and rectally.”
Major Cornum’s testimony stunned some of the members of the commission, which also learned in the hearing that Specialist Melissa Coleman, the other American female prisoner of war in Iraq, was the victim of “indecent assault.”
Their treatment has since become an issue in the debate over whether women in the military should be allowed into combat. Those who favor limiting the role of women have seized upon Major Cornum’s experience, saying it proves that women are more vulnerable than men in combat situations. None of the male prisoners, for instance, have reported that they were sexually abused during their captivity.
But other experts on P.O.W.’s and on military personnel say the disclosure illustrates much larger issues: that rape and sexual abuse are two of the many forms of mistreatment suffered by prisoners of war....””
Anyone hear about this guy?
It was Miller, a 23-year-old Army welder from Kansas, who single-handedly took on several Iraqis, manually slamming rounds into his assault rifle and firing as they prepared to lob mortar rounds at Lynch and other soldiers from the 507th Maintenance Company.
Hes one of my heroes, said Army Spc. Shoshana Johnson, who was wounded and leaning against her truck as Miller dashed past her up a dusty road toward the Iraqi mortar pit. His actions may have saved my life.
Miller was the sole member of the unit to receive the Silver Star, one of the militarys highest awards for valor. Nearly 130,000 Army troops served in the Iraq war and its aftermath, but only 86 Silver Stars had been awarded through mid-September, according to the Army Personnel Command. Lynch and other members of the 507th received Bronze Stars, a notch below the Silver Star.
Shoshana yelled at him, Get down, Miller! Get down! Youre going to get hit! said another soldier, Spc. Edgar Hernandez, describing how Miller charged toward the Iraqis. Hernandez recalled hearing automatic fire from Iraqi AK-47s and the single shots of Millers M-16 rifle.
As a prisoner of war, Miller badgered his interrogators for three weeks, singing an off-key rendition of country singer Toby Keiths anti-terrorist song, Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue. And he fooled them.
The Iraqis pressed him to explain a series of numbers and code words scratched on a piece of paper inside his helmet. Prices for power-steering pumps, he told them. The soldiers tossed the paper into a small campfire, unaware that they had destroyed information vital to an enemy: radio frequencies for an invading unit.
Hes a Pfc. in the Army and he exposed himself without hesitation to the enemy to save his comrades, said Col. Heidi V. Brown, who commanded the Army task force in Iraq that included Millers unit and who wrote his medal ciTation, based on interviews with U.S. soldiers and Iraqis. It doesnt get more heroic than that.
All the witnesses corroborated the tale of Millers charging toward a mortar pit and shooting at the enemy, said Brown in a telephone interview, though no one could agree on a precise number of enemy dead. An Army investigative report said it could have been as many as nine. Absolutely, he killed some Iraqis, Brown said.
And she shouldn’t be COMPETING with her fellow soldiers.
What a JA. Pissed that she isn’t richer and more famous?
She should be turning to her fellow captives in camaraderie, not anger at who’s getting more attention.
So do I.
God bless Shoshanand.My Granddaughter was there 2nd wave in 4 th ID and she is beautiful,petite and Jessica made me terrified for her.
She forgot she had a gun in her hand? I never read this story before.
Thank you. That’s him. Singing off key.
Why didn’t he received the MoH?
Her gun wouldn’t fire and the sergeant was trying to clear her weapon from his passenger’s seat, when I read the details it sounded like he had his hands full, a panicking female driver, Private Lynch screaming in his ears and him having to deal with the enemy and the situation all at once, and then suddenly they were all five dead, except for Lynch.
Army cook Shoshana Johnson
Here is more from Miller.
Miller, meanwhile, spotted an Iraqi dump truck and raced toward it, hoping to commandeer it and drive the survivors to safety. As he ran, he could see the smoky tails of rocket-propelled grenades sail past him. Bullets kicked up dirt on the road.
Miller reached an earthen berm just across the road from the Iraqi truck. Then he noticed a group of Iraqis in front of the dump truck, some 50 feet away, setting up a mortar tube. A rocket-propelled grenade slammed into the far side of the berm, and Miller rolled out the other side. When he crawled back inside and peered over the top, he could see an Iraqi ready to drop a mortar round into the tube.
But Millers rifle was jammed. A spent round would eject, but the new round would only go halfway into the chamber. Miller slammed his palm into a lever on the side of the gun, and the bullet slid into place. He raised his rifle and fired. The Iraqi collapsed in a heap before he could fire the mortar round.
Riley, in a telephone interview from Aberdeen Proving Ground where he is now an instructor at the Ordnance Center and School, said Miller was behind a berm returning fire while the berm was being shot at. ... Hed pop up and fire. Bullets and RPG rounds were smacking into everything all around.
Miller said he was never scared or even thinking about what he was doing, just reacting. His Army training returned: how to breathe, aim and squeeze the trigger. The only thing I was thinking was if they dont get a mortar loaded, they cant blow them up, Miller said.
The remaining Iraqis jumped up and started firing their rifles at Miller, all missing. But their attack was never coordinated by having one take on Miller while the others launched mortar rounds at the remaining Americans.
One by one, Miller, by his count, shot seven Iraqis as each popped up and tried to work the mortar. After it was over, a large bruise spread over Millers palm from the constant slapping against the rifle.
When the mortar pit fell silent, Miller turned around and saw an armed man running along a tree line behind him, shielded by two women. He shot toward them, and they all folded into the ground.
Then the two women suddenly rose and dashed away, with the man lagging behind. Miller aimed once more and squeezed the trigger. The man fell forward. It was Millers final shot of the war.
The media likes to sell papers/magazines, gain viewers etc, they pick what they think will appeal to the public most. There have been plenty of guy POW’s that didn’t get the treatment Lynch did.
I’m pretty sure petite female Lynndie England wished she wouldn’t have gotten the most media attention at Abu Ghraib. It’s just business and it isn’t always fair or pretty.
I could have been rich and on Vogue magazine, but I wasn’t as hot as Cindy Crawford....go figure.
I remember her... she looked warily at her captors, and I remember thinking, that girl is very brave. She didn’t know what they were going to do to her, but she wasn’t going to give them any satisfaction.
If I heard correctly Shoshona actually fired a bullet, the only female to do so.
In an interview, she said that she “fired a bullet at the treeline” while riding in a truck, that was the only one that I have seen described and I have never found out more about that treeline.
But....but...but...we're the "barbarians" because some of our soldiers dared to put underwear on the heads of terrorists....grrrr! < /sarc >
She is just being petty and jealous of Jessica Lynch.
Here is the guy who’s battle field struggles got totally swallowed up and absorbed by the Xena warrior myth of Private Lynch.
A National Guard spokesman stated that an Iraqi ambulance driver witnessed Walters [with Jessica Lynchs 507th main, co.], still alive, guarded by six Fedayeen, in front of a building. Walters was led inside the building, and several hours later, the same witness delivered his dead body to a hospital. DNA samples recovered from blood in the building match that of Walters, and splatter vectors suggest that he died from two gunshot wounds to the back, from more than twenty feet away.
During initial reports after the Lynch rescue, it had been stated that a blonde soldier, presumably Lynch, had fought until she ran out of ammunition, although she later refuted this; although there has been no official investigation into this matter, it has been widely speculated that this soldier was Walters, who is also blond. Donalds mother, Arlene Walters, appeared on the CBS Early Show, making this claim, on May 28.
Army reports from 2003 state that Walters died in the fighting during an ambush that left ten others dead; with no American witnesses to his death. It has now been suggested that Walters was separated from his unit; several gun magazines were found near the location of Walters capture, suggesting that he may have, indeed, fought until he ran out of ammunition. Before capture, Walters was shot in the leg, and stabbed twice with a knife in the abdomen, had a dislocated left shoulder, shot twice in the back.
Sgt. Walters was interred with military honors at the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on April 12, 2003. More than 150 of Sgt. Walters relatives, friends and Army comrades attended his funeral. At the funeral, his widow, Stacie, was presented with the Bronze Star and Purple Heart awarded to her husband.
Sgt. Walters posthumously awarded Bronze Star was upgraded to the Silver Star for gallantry with marked distinction in March 2004. The ceremony was held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas with Brigadier General Howard Bromberg, director of the Enlisted Personnel Management Directorate, U.S. Army Human Resources Command presenting the decoration to Mrs. Walters. In his remarks, General Bromberg suggested that Sgt. Walters is believed to have provided covering fire for his comrades, allowing many of them the opportunity to escape at the cost of his own life. Sgt. Walters also received the Prisoner of War Medal in May of the same year. There is currently a war crimes investigation on his behalf.
Lynch on left, Shoshana on right. Ignored...?
Ms. Lynch was separated from the others, severely wounded, slapped around by interrogators, and rescued by a special forces team after a brave Iraqi Doctor risked his life to get to an American unit to tell them where she was being held. He was then sent back to the Hospital under risk to his own life, to gt more intel for the rescue mission.
After the rescue, the media and military lied about her being a female version of Rambo.
I say that the cute little blond paid more than enough for her 15 minutes of fame.
Nearly EVERY member of the SF team that rescued Lynch was later killed in subsequent battles.
Is Miller still alive?
God Bless him.
More about Miller and his and Johnsons reaction to Lynch.
Johnson, his fellow POW from the 507th, couldnt recall anything particularly special about Miller when they were stationed together at Fort Bliss, Texas, in the months before they headed off to war. A down-to-earth country boy, Johnson remembered with a laugh. He likes his chew. Thats all I remember about Pat: He had that chew in his mouth.
Miller now spends his days toiling in a motor pool as part of the 2nd Company of the 43rd Area Support Group. Because most of the units heavy equipment has been shipped over to Iraq, his welding torch has been cold. Recently, he has been cutting the grass and slathering brown and white paint on the buildings interior walls. Every so often, a fellow soldier will quiz him about his service in Iraq.
A $25,000-a-year private first class, Miller lives in a modest three-bedroom townhouse on base with his wife, Jessa,, and two children, 4-year-old Tyler and 14-month-old Makenzie. The children are in day care while his wife works making glasses for LensCrafters. One day, Miller hopes to rise to a higher enlisted rank an Army warrant officer and oversee a maintenance shop, perhaps putting in 20 years.
But the fact that Miller remains an unknown grates on Johnson and some in Millers family.
Jessicas a wonderful girl, and were happy shes OK, Johnson said. But it was Patrick; it wasnt Jessica. His weapon was working. He was doing everything possible. Patrick deserves so much, and hes not getting the recognition. Hes still a private first class. He hasnt even been promoted.
Miller flopped on the plaid couch. He said he wants to put the entire Iraqi episode behind him and get on with his life. Play with his kids. Work on his car. Complete the paperwork for the warrant officer program.
He is asked about the fame of Lynch and how her celebrity has eclipsed his heroics. He summed it all up with a shrug. Shes female. Im male. Its expected of me, he said. Still, like some others in his company, he harbors a gnawing resentment that Lynch has emerged as the only story in the 507th.
It just gets me how she gets credit for something she didnt do, he finally said. We were all in the same unit.
“...Nearly EVERY member of the SF team that rescued Lynch was later killed in subsequent battles...”
Is that true???? How do you know??? How could that be?
So sad if true...
That’s not all —Lynch had posed TOPLESS in her platoon bay, both before and after her capture. By huge coincidence just the other day the photos turned up, with a big account of it all.
I think that pornographer Larry Flynt was going to publish them.
MILLER WAS THE HERO.
ApacheClips is a specialized military site —USMC and SF dudes post over there all the time. See my link? The account is over there.
Some of the danger areas for the the team’s egress route was guarded by USMC, and a bunch of them got zapped, too. It was so bad a lot of those Marines were actually cursing her name (at the time), deeming the mission a Hollywood stunt (I guess that was because of the cameras with the team, but I don’t know).
I do NOT take a position on whether or not those elaborate measures were required for the rescue.
“Anyone remember Lori Piestewa?”
Yes, I do.
Maybe you should have read the whole article.
Your conclusion after reading all of it could be different from mine, but Miss Johnson seems to be just stating the facts as she sees them. She doesn’t appear to think of herself as a hero. She says that she stays in contact with the others who were captured...that Miss Lynch was a friend before the capture, and remains a friend today.
I’m basing my opinion entirely on this article. I’m not familiar with whatever else has happened regarding Johnson. However,evidence of the accuracy of her statement about meeting the guidelines for what is considered by the media to be physically attractive is borne out in countless stories that have garnered extended high-profile coverage as opposed to other similar stories that have not.
She believes that her race also had some bearing on the type of attention she received. That’s possible. There’s some evidence of that in media coverage too. But, it’s probably more likely that she would have had more attention from the media, regardless of race, if she had been thinner and prettier.
IOW, she thinks she was found “guilty” physically. Some folks here at FR know what I’m sayin’.
My sentiments exactly. I hope Shoshana's career as a pastry chef takes off.
I wouldn’t single Miller out entirely, a number of men were fighting.
Miller and Walters were both awarded Siver Stars and of course Lynch and Johnson were awarded Bronze Stars for some reason, they seemed to give most everyone a Bronze Star.
I’d like some attribution for everything you’re alleging in your two posts. Where’s the link to these “stories”?
Any combat our military is likely to see in the forseeable future will be with 3rd world tribal type combatants. Female POWs will be sexually assualted, beaten and possibly killed. This fact needs to be made very public, and a total reassessment on the role of females in the US military should be undertaken.
Male POWs aren’t exempt from torture and murder as mentioned earlier in this thread. What hasn’t been mentioned yet was several US POWs in DS-I were castrated before they were murdered. They were found to have been circumsized, and were assumed to be Jews.
Oh please, Lucy..............look at HER own opening words. I rest my case.
The media would rather cover accusations that Halliburton employees raped Americans stationed in Iraq than ever discuss the mistreatment of captured American troop by Iraqis, Iranians, Syrians, etc...
Our MSM will not highlight it because it would be admitting that there are differences. THAT article I linked tries to say it happens to men, probably sometimes, but it WILL happen to the girls. That one woman had both arms and legs broken and was apparently repeatedly raped.
Near silence from the MSM.
I was going to get around to asking him for that myself.
I’m especially curious how they pinned down the specific SF personnel and their deaths.
There was an incident in the Iraq war (from 2003 or 2004) where some US troops were captured, tortured, killed, and shown on tv with their pants pulled down.
It went down the collective memory hole.
Wonder if the war criminals behind those deeds were ever prosecuted. I mean, now that the war is over and all.
“It was kind of hurtful. If I’d been a petite, cutesy thing, it would’ve been different.” Damn straight. And the same goes for me, too. How’d Kennedy put it? Oh, yeah, “Life is not fair.” That’s how he saw it, some time before Oswald shot him.
The thing is that none of the women did anything special, but if you read post 26, then you can see that it was thought that Jessica Lynch had made a heroic fight, which would have made her one of the great female combatants in history, that would have created the media frenzy, not the fact that she was a cute, white girl that was only injured and captured, the same as Johnson was.
This entire incident was a great humiliation and a terrible insult to the men that fought bravely that day.
What’s the source you’re excerpting from?