Skip to comments.Jessica Lynch Awarded Bronze Star !
Posted on 07/22/2003 1:36:56 AM PDT by ex-Texan
Jessica Lynch Awarded Bronze Star
Lynch Gets Medals Ahead of Homecoming
ELIZABETH, W.Va. - Former POW Jessica Lynch was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart in Washington Monday as she prepares for her homecoming.
Lynch, who returns to the hills of West Virigina Tuesday, also received Prisoner of War medals at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. The Bronze Star is given for meritorious combat service, a Purple Heart is most often awarded to those wounded in combat, and the POW for being held captive during wartime.
"The Purple Heart ... was not necessarily about being wounded or injured in action initially, but that's what it has come to symbolize," said Lt. Gen. James B. Peake, the Army Surgeon General, in presenting the medals. "It's a special award and not one you choose to get."
Four members of the West Virginia Army National Guard's aviation support unit in Parkersburg were chosen to staff the helicopter that she will ride home in.
"Minus all the hype, this mission is about being able to participate in the homecoming of one of our own," said Chief Warrant Officer Robert McClure, who will co-pilot the Black Hawk helicopter with Chief Warrant Officer Jim McPeak. "It's a real honor."
Lynch, still recuperating from multiple broken bones and other injuries, and her parents are scheduled to fly from the medical center to Elizabeth. The 210-mile trip should last two to three hours, depending on the weather.
Also on both legs of the flight will be Lynch's cousin, Dan Little, a first sergeant in the Parkersburg National Guard unit.
"Jessi trusts him and wanted him to be with her because he's been through most of it with her," said Wyonema Lynch, Lynch's grandmother, noting that Little traveled to Germany when Lynch was recuperating there.
Little, who has spoken twice with Lynch in the past week, said her spirits have been buoyed by her imminent trip home.
"She's a strong, disciplined young lady," Little said. "Her injuries are long healing, and that can be hard if you dwell on it. But she's not allowed that to happen."
With hundreds of news media and others descending on this Wirt County seat of about 1,000 for Lynch's first public comments about her ordeal, area residents have been painting, pruning and preening for weeks.
"We are excited just to see her, just to be able to give her hug. To Jessi, home is in the hills. She has been wanting to get here," her grandmother said.
Regina Ray of Elizabeth said she is glad Lynch is coming home "because there is no place like home to recover."
American flags and yellow bows line the route Lynch's military motorcade will take from Elizabeth to her home in Palestine, a community of about 300 residents some five miles away.
Lynch is scheduled to make a brief statement in Elizabeth before riding in a Ford Mustang convertible in the motorcade.
Lynch's convoy was ambushed near the Iraqi city of Nasiriyah after it made a wrong turn. Eleven soldiers from the convoy were killed and Lynch, a supply clerk, was severely injured.
U.S. forces recovered Lynch at a Nasiriyah hospital April 1. Five other 507th Maintenance Company soldiers who were captured and held apart from Lynch were freed April 13.
The influx of hundreds of visitors, including many journalists here to report Lynch's first public words since her March wounding, capture and rescue in Iraq, is bringing needed cash to Wirt County, which has West Virginia's highest unemployment rate - 15.1 percent.
The economic benefits dampen the annoyance many residents feel at the intense media interest in Lynch.
"They're anxious to see you come, and they'll be anxious to see you leave," said Keith Burdette, Gov. Bob Wise's legislative liaison and the county's former state senator.
Also on the flight will be the crew chief, Sgt. 1st Class Vernon Cosner of Washington, and flight medic, Sgt. Paula Tucker of Morgantown.
It's all relative. I think awarding a medal to her is a vile slur to everyone else who was engaged in combat. You can take the position that everyone deserves a medal, but in that case they should award a medal to everyone. What about the guys in her unit who died? I'll bet that some of them went down fighting. Don't they deserve medals? Isn't it a slur on them to give one to Lynch?
xzins, what do you think?
But hey, watch what is going to happen here. People will go absolutley nuts that by not favoring a bronze star for her, that we are attacking her. They will completely ignore that the awarding of a medal to someone who is undeserving is a much greater slur to those who died to earn theirs and those who did far more yet received nothing.
Meanwhile, there you sit, bravely hunkered down behind your keyboard, typing. And all those guys in Iraq will get their just reward from the DoD, but without the fanfare. I don't understant your bitterness.
Yes, that's true. But, it is fair to speculate on this forum, as that is what we do 99% of the time. Also, it is just as fair to speculate that she did not deserve the medal as it is to speculate that she did.
My speculation is that even in the best scenario, her actions did not rise above many others in her unit, and certainly not over many others in other units. It is plain to see that she has thus in all liklihood been issued a medal because of her celebrity status.
Supposedly she tried to fight but her gun jammed. That's worth a bronze star these days?
If she wasn't raped then the government can clear this all up by letting her tell her story, but they won't because they want to hide their guilt for sending her into the enemy's clutches unnecessarily.