04/17 - Rescued U.S. POWs in good health - East Valley Tribune: Nation / World

04/17 - Rescued U.S. POWs in good health

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Posted: Thursday, April 17, 2003 9:55 am | Updated: 1:50 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

LANDSTUHL, Germany - The seven American POWs rescued in Iraq are in good health but need "individual attention" to help them cope with the emotional toll of three weeks in captivity, military doctors said.

The seven got a much needed night of sleep after they were flown from Kuwait to the U.S. military's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. On Thursday, they received thorough medical examinations.

"They're all in good shape," said Landstuhl spokeswoman Marie Shaw.

The POWs were freed Sunday by U.S. Marines south of Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit and taken to Kuwait, where they underwent initial medical checks and debriefings.

At Landstuhl, the seven were being further debriefed and were speaking with psychologists and a chaplain to help them deal with their ordeal.

"They bonded as prisoners when they were there, but they will each need individual attention," said a Landstuhl spokesman, Dan Unger.

Five of the freed prisoners were comrades of former POW Jessica Lynch from the U.S. Army's 507th Maintenance Support Company, which was ambushed in southern Iraq. The other two were helicopter pilots from the 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment.

After landing in Landstuhl on Wednesday night, six of the former POWs, dressed in military fatigues, walked down a C-141 aircraft's rear ramp, shaking hands with air base workers and waving at reporters.

U.S. Army Spc. Shoshana Johnson, 30, who was shot in the foot during the ambush, was carried off the plane on a stretcher. She was greeted by applause from a group of air base workers.

Also wounded was Spc. Edgar Hernandez, 21, who was shot in the elbow. The others did not appear to have serious physical injuries, officials said.

None of the group was expected to stay long at Landstuhl.

The freed members of the 507th Maintenance Support Company ambushed in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah on March 23 are Johnson, Hernandez; Spc. Joseph Hudson, 23, Pfc. Patrick Miller, 23, and Sgt. James Riley, 31.

The pilots are Chief Warrant Officer David S. Williams, 30, and Chief Warrant Officer Ronald D. Young Jr., 26.

Landstuhl is the largest U.S. military hospital outside the United States, and so far has treated more than 200 patients with battlefield injuries from the war in Iraq.

Among them was Lynch, who was flown back to the United States on Saturday and was recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. She was injured much more seriously than her comrades, suffering a head wound, a spinal injury and fractures to her right arm, both legs and her right foot and ankle.

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