View Full Version : Preparations Made For Lynch Homecoming

07-21-03, 12:48 PM
Preparations Made For Lynch Homecoming
Associated Press
July 21, 2003

ELIZABETH, W.Va. - Jessica Lynch has never seen her home county look quite like this: bedecked, bow-strewn and virtually weedless.

Then again, Wirt County has never planned a celebration quite like Tuesday's homecoming of Lynch, the 20-year-old Army private who was taken prisoner in Iraq in March, and whose survival and recovery by U.S. forces made her a hero.

Knowing that hundreds of journalists will be descending on this county seat of about 1,000 for Lynch's first public comments about her ordeal, the locals have been painting, pruning and preening for weeks.

"Every weed in every crack is down to dirt," said Debbie Hennen, the county assessor. "We don't want people to see weeds. We want them to say, 'Gosh, that is such a friendly town. That's a place I'd like to live.'"

Many of the flags and yellow ribbons that sprouted after Lynch's maintenance convoy drove into an ambush March 23 have been replaced with new versions, especially along the five miles Lynch's motorcade will drive on her journey's final leg from Elizabeth to her home town of Palestine.

Lynch - who is still recuperating from multiple broken bones and other injuries - and family members will be flown to Elizabeth by helicopter from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Her public statement will be brief, and she will not take questions from reporters, family spokesman Randy Coleman has said.

Wayne Wright, commander of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post, drove across the state line to Marietta, Ohio, to buy the dozens of flagpoles now attached to utility poles along the motorcade route.

"We want to let her know that we care," Wright said.

On a break Sunday from retarring the parking lot of Dick's Market, a shirtless Todd Somerville said he had paving jobs lined up across the county over the next two days.

"Oh, yeah, lots of people want to spruce up their places for Jessi," he said.

Beneath the ribbons and paint, Lynch will find life essentially unchanged in this county of fewer than 6,000 people, where everyone seems to know at least a Lynch cousin or aunt, and where folks routinely rally for neighbors in need.

"This is almost like an Amish community in some ways," said Jim Bostic, 46, of Spencer. "We're 50 years behind the times, but in a good way."

Charlene Curfman's Palestine home burned down 27 years ago while she was pregnant, but within two days neighbors in the unincorporated town of about 300 had given her and her husband everything they needed.

"It's not just one person, it's everyone," said Curfman, 53, a beauty salon owner. "People will help each other and never expect repayment."

Some locals say the efforts to help Lynch, including the rebuilding of her house to accommodate the wheelchair she still needs, have united the county as never before.

"We've all shared the lows of her disappearance to the highs of her rescue," said Greg Thorn, 44, who with his brother inherited Dick's Market from their father. "I think it's made a close-knit community even more so."

Lynch's convoy was ambushed near the Iraqi city of Nasiriyah after it made a wrong turn. Eleven soldiers from the convoy were killed; five others were captured and held apart from Lynch for three weeks before their release.

Lynch, a supply clerk in the 507th Maintenance Company, was injured after her Humvee utility vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade and crashed into another vehicle in the convoy. U.S. forces recovered Lynch at an Iraqi hospital in Nasiriyah April 1.



You don't hear nothing of the eleven that died during that ambush?

Im also quite sure the "Media" dogs will be there.......

07-21-03, 05:04 PM
You don't hear nothing of the eleven that died during that ambush? Same thing I was thinking through the whole read! If she's smart, she will mention the others and say that all things for her are also for them!

But, then again, that might make her more of..... a hero!

07-21-03, 05:57 PM
Hmmm... I hate to be an a**, but where are all the perks, bennies, and hoopla for the grunts that were killed or wounded in combat? All we hear about is PFC Lynch and her ordeal... I remember the female pilot during Desert Storm that was captured, she didn't receive the same kind of treatment.

Why wasn't Spc. Miller given either a bronze star with V device or silver star for his actions there. He kept on fighting when the others had just about quit. What about the surviving NCOIC, why doesn't he get more recognition for keeping his wits about him and managing to keep the survivors intact?

I don't know, maybe I'm jaded on the whole "Rescue 911" fanfare of PFC Lynch...

07-21-03, 08:13 PM
Lynch Awarded Bronze Star

By GAVIN McCORMICK, Associated Press Writer

ELIZABETH, W.Va. - Former POW Jessica Lynch was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart in Washington Monday and is preparing for her homecoming here.

Lynch, who returns to the hills of West Virigina Tuesday, also received the Purple Heart and 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 (news - web sites), 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, Sfc. Vernon Cosner of Washington, and flight medic, Sgt. Paula Tucker of Morgantown.





Lynch was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and POW medal today.

07-21-03, 10:41 PM
Is it just me or does she look like she's aged about 20 years?
http://img.slate.msn.com/media/1/123125/123073/2076411/2081005/030414_JessicaLynch.jpg After http://i.cnn.net/cnn/2003/US/07/21/lynch.homecoming/vert.lynch.medals.jpg

07-21-03, 11:14 PM
Bronze Star?
What was it award for?
The Purple Heart amd the POW medals.
I can see reasoning in that.
Now a question, will that Bronze Star have a "V" for valor.
Yes, she has aged, wars do that to people.
I wonder if she will recieve all "bennies" that people said that they were going to give her?
She has a heavy burden to bear.
More people try to do, only make it harder on this young woman.

Semper Fidelis

07-22-03, 07:03 AM
MillRatUSMC it is sad to say....but I feel the same way....

I don't understand the bronze star........



Red Dragon
07-22-03, 11:00 AM
Give a Medal just to make her look good for doing nothing. What about the other POW's, guess they are not wirthy of a medal.

If Lynch got a Bronze Star for doing nothing thing than all the POWs/MIAs from Viet Nam should rate at least the Silver Star and everybody that served in Viet Nam should get the Bronze Star.

Red Dragon aka HL

PS: Just makes you sick and cheapens the valor of the medal.