HARRISBURG – In honor of POW/MIA Recognition Day in Pennsylvania, Sen. Devlin Robinson (R-37) welcomed retired Pfc. U.S. Army Jessica Lynch to the Senate floor.
While serving in Iraq, Lynch was captured on March 23, 2003, and was held captive by Iraqi forces after her unit was ambushed, leaving her severely injured. She was initially listed as missing in action. After some time in the custody of the Iraqi army regiment that had captured her, she was taken to a hospital in An Nasiriyah. Robinson’s unit aided in her search mission and subsequent rescue.
“Twenty years ago, the Marines of Task Force Tarawa entered an obscure city on the Euphrates River called An Nasiriyah. We were told resistance would be minor – the intelligence was wrong,” Robinson said. “Twenty-one Marines and eleven soldiers were killed in heavy fighting in and around the city. By the time dust settled, we learned that six soldiers from the 507th Maintenance Company were taken prisoner by Iraqi Forces and that our mission changed to search and rescue.”
“The Marines of Task Force Tarawa went door-to-door in An Nasiriyah to search for evidence of their whereabouts. We were met with resistance from Sadaam’s Fedayeen militia and Ba’ath party soldiers,” Robinson said. “After nine days of tireless operations, we finally received actionable intelligence and a special forces operation launched a rescue for Pfc. Jessica Lynch. Two weeks later, the remaining soldiers were rescued by the Marines in Baghdad.”
Lynch became the first American POW to be successfully rescued since World War II. Nearly 82,000 Americans are still missing in action today.
“The physical and emotional scars Jessica has are constant reminders of her difficult story,” Robinson said. “I am proud of all she has achieved since her traumatic time in Iraq. With her strength and courage, she is an inspiration to so many – including me. Being able to welcome her to the Senate today to honor her is something I will never forget. It was truly a special day.”
“Thank you so much for all of your love and support not only to myself, but to all of our military,” Jessica Lynch said while addressing the Senate. “That is what we need – we need that continued support so that we can bring all our military home safely, because we are going to keep going through deployments. Continue praying and supporting them until we are all home safely.”
Since Iraq, Lynch continued her education, became a mother and teacher, starred in a film and wrote a book.
“I introduced Senate Resolution 150 to designate Sept. 15, 2023, as POW/MIA Recognition Day in Pennsylvania,” Robinson said. “It is a solemn day of remembrance of American prisoners of war and those still missing in action. Communities across Pennsylvania and the United States of America pay tribute to those men and women who have served our nation and showcase support for the former prisoners still struggling. They are not forgotten.”