The Lookout

Jessica Lynch, 10 years after her rescue: ‘Happy to put Iraq in the past’

The Lookout

Ten years, ago, 19-year-old Army Pvt. Jessica Lynch was rescued with multiple injuries after her supply unit had come under fire and she was taken captive in Iraq. Lynch was the first woman POW to be rescued in war.

Lynch, on the 10th anniversary of her rescue, went on the "Today" show on Monday to talk about the intervening years and the difficulty she had had with being in the spotlight. Thanks to the story of the capture having been inaccurate, the Iraq war veteran had gone from being a media darling to the poster child for an ill-prepared war effort.

She recalled, “I set the record straight as much as I can. I did Congress and testified to let everyone know … the real story.” For example, her many broken bones, attributed to enemy fire, came from her Humvee crash. And while it was reported that she used her M16 rifle, she said it actually had jammed.

The West Virginia native is now a motivational speaker, teacher and mother—the latter is the role for which "she feels the most pride," she said.

Lynch told "Today," "I’m happy we’re at this 10-year mark, but I’m happy to put Iraq in the past. It’s always going to be part of my life."

She added, "I'm blessed and happy to be here."

Her injuries, however, always serve as a reminder of the war: She has had 21 surgeries, including for a broken back and two broken legs. She wears a brace on the left leg and her right leg still hurts. She said, “I do the best that I can and am just thankful that I'm here.”

Lynch also told "Today" that she has had to deal with survivor’s guilt. "My best friend [Lori Paestewa] didn’t get to come back, and I did. She had two beautiful kids," Lynch said. "It’s hard to know they’re going to have to grow up without their mom.”

She added, “I have that never-give-up attitude. As long as you keep it in your mind, you can do anything. That’s what it’s all about, it’s persevering.”

Correction: The story has been updated: Aside from Lynch, five others were taken prisoner and released.

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