Jessica Lynch, First Woman POW, Haunted by Iraq a Decade Later

Image: Jessica Lynch, First Woman POW, Haunted by Iraq a Decade Later 2011 photo of Jessica Lynch and her daughter Dakota.

Tuesday, 02 Apr 2013 10:15 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Army Pvt. Jessica Lynch, the first ever American woman POW, said the memories of her captivity in Iraq still haunt her 10 years after the traumatic experience.

In 2003, only days into the war, Lynch's 507th Maintenance Company was ambushed by Iraqi forces during the Battle of Nasiriyah. She was captured by Iraqi soldiers along with other Army personnel. Eight days later, on April 1, Lynch was rescued by U.S. Special Operations Forces.

"About every night I have some kind of dream where there’s someone chasing me," Lynch told NBC's "Today" on Monday. "It’s hard. It really is mentally and physically draining. I’m very blessed and happy to be here, and I think that’s what counts the most, and if I tell myself that I’m OK, I eventually I start (thinking), 'You know what? I can do this.'"

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Lynch suffered a broken arm, a broken thigh, and a dislocated ankle.

Lynch has undergone 21 surgeries since her rescue and countless hours of physical rehabilitation for her legs and arms, reported NBC News. In addition to wearing a brace on her left leg, Lynch says she still experiences pain in her right foot.

"I do the best that I can, and I’m just thankful that I’m here," she said on "Today."

Following her rescue, some media outlets sensationalized reports on Lynch, suggesting she played a heroic role in the fight before her capture.

Lynch disputed the accounts, testifying before Congress after her rescue and maintaining today that she never fired her M-16, which she said  jammed during the incident, and was knocked unconscious after her vehicle flipped.

"I know that there was a lot of fabricated, misconstrued stories, but I did what I had to do," Lynch said. "I came out and tried to tell the world what really happened. I set the record straight as much as I can and what people still want to believe or not believe, that’s on them, but I felt it was important to just let the truth be known."

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Now a mother, teacher and motivational speaker in her hometown of Charleston, W.V., Lynch said she is working on earning a master’s degree in teaching. She is presently engaged to the father of her 6-year-old girl, Dakota, according to NBC News.

Related stories:

Ex-POW Jessica Lynch: Women's Combat Role OK With Her

Former POW Jessica Lynch Finishing Teaching Degree

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