Published January 13, 2015
After everything she's been through — an Iraqi ambush, a daring rescue, and several surgeries — Pfc. Jessica Lynch had nothing but smiles for her family during a long-awaited reunion Sunday.
Her parents, two siblings and a cousin paid Lynch two brief visits after their early morning arrival from West Virginia, said U.S. military officials at the U.S. military's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in southwestern Germany.
"Lynch had a big smile on her face when her parents arrived," the hospital said in a statement.
Lynch, a 19-year-old supply clerk, was in stable condition in the intensive care unit, where she was being treated for a head wound, an injury to her spine, and fractures to her right arm, both legs, her right foot and ankle.
The hospital also confirmed the possibility that gunshots may have caused fractures to the upper right arm and lower left leg. The hospital commander, Col. David Rubenstein, previously said no entry or exit wounds consistent with gunshot wounds had been found.
"The medical staff says, after more closely examining those wounds, there is a possibility they were caused by a low velocity, small caliber weapon," the a statement said, stressing treatment would have been the same no matter what the cause.
Lynch underwent back surgery Thursday was to correct a slipped vertebra that was putting pressure on her spinal cord. Since then, she has undergone several more surgeries to stabilize the fractures, the hospital said.
Doctors have said the prognosis for Lynch's full recovery were excellent.
Lynch was rescued Tuesday from a hospital in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah by a team of Navy SEALs, Marine commandos, Air Force pilots and Army Rangers.
The commandos found her after an Iraqi lawyer saw Lynch being slapped by a security guard in the hospital, and alerted U.S. forces.
While troops engaged the Iraqis in another part of the city, the rescue team persuaded an Iraqi doctor to lead them to Lynch, who had been held since her unit was ambushed a week earlier.
The commandos who rescued Lynch also unearthed nine bodies from a nearby burial site, eight of whom were identified as members of Lynch's unit.
The ninth was a soldier from a forward support group of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division. All have been transported back to the United States.
Lynch's parents only learned of the deaths of other members of her unit just before departing for Germany. Among them was Lynch's friend and former roommate, Pfc. Lori Piestewa, who became the first American servicewoman killed in the war.
"Our hearts are really saddened for her other troop members and the other families," Lynch's father, Gregory Lynch Sr., managed to say before choking up.
Piestewa was a member of the Hopi Tribe, whose reservation is near the Navajo Reservation community of Tuba City, Ariz. She was a 23-year-old single mother raising a 4-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl.
"Our prayers are with the Lynch family," said Wayne Taylor Jr., chairman of the Hopi Tribe. "We thank God that she survived her ordeal. Her bravery speaks volumes of her character and we wish her a continued speedy recovery."