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Ex-POW Lynch Arrives Home in W.Va.

July 22, 2003

ELIZABETH, W.Va. (AP) _ Former POW Jessica Lynch returned home aboard an Army helicopter Tuesday for an expected hero’s welcome, nearly four months after she was ambushed by Iraqi forces and later rescued from a hospital.

The helicopter landed in Elizabeth at about 1:56 p.m. after flying over the small town in the rolling green hills of West Virginia. The 20-year-old Army supply clerk, severely injured in an ambush in Iraq in March, left Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington at about 10:30 a.m, the hospital said.

Lynch was to make brief public remarks from a wheelchair in a park minutes after the arrival _ her first public words since her ordeal.

The hospital issued a statement by Lynch in which she thanked the medical team who cared for her.

``I also thank all the well-wishers for all their cards, letters, banners and posters,″ Lynch’s statement said. ``These really raised my spirits and kept me going.″

Suffering from multiple broken bones and other injuries, Lynch had arrived at Walter Reed, the Defense Department’s largest medical facility, on April 12.

She was being accompanied by her parents and a unit from the Parkersburg National Guard, which includes Lynch’s cousin, Dan Little.

``We are excited just to see her, just to be able to give her a hug,″ her grandmother Wyonema Lynch said earlier. ``To Jessi, home is in the hills. She has been wanting to get here.″

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