Jessica Lynch Rescuer Dies After Attack in Afghanistan

Friday, 16 May 2014 09:18 AM

By Melanie Batley

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An Army Ranger who led the rescue of former POW Jessica Lynch from an Iraqi hospital in 2003 has died after suffering injuries in Afghanistan, the Army Times reported.

The Pentagon announced that Command Sgt. Maj. Martin Barreras, 49, died on May 13 in Texas after enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire in Afghanistan on May 6.

"Command Sgt. Maj. Barreras was my friend and battle buddy," Lt. Col. Edward Brady, the battalion commander, said in a statement, according to the Army Times.

"I've spent more time with him than my wife since I've taken command. I believe that I was the luckiest battalion commander in the Army to have him as my command sergeant major.

Pfc. Jessica Lynch was just 19 when she was ambushed, raped, and held hostage by Iraqi forces in 2003. She was rescued by U.S. Special Forces on April 1, 2003, nine days after she was taken hostage.

Lynch was honored with a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, and POW medals after her rescue, but has since insisted she was not the hero she had been portrayed as.

Barreras served 22 years in the Army's 75th Ranger Regiment with multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. A friend told Fox News that Barreras personally handed Lynch to another soldier to transfer her to the helicopter that evacuated her from the area. He then fended off multiple attacks to retrieve all nine of the bodies of other U.S. soldiers missing in action to bring them home.

"Marty never even asked for a thank you," the friend told Fox News, which identified the friend as a fellow Ranger.

The highly-decorated Barreras, originally from Tucson, Ariz., is survived by his wife, two daughters, and a son, the Army Times reported.
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