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'I'm no hero' -former Iraq captive Jessica Lynch
( 2003-11-07 11:15) (Agencies)

Army private Jessica Lynch, the badly injured U.S. prisoner of war who was rescued from a hospital during the Iraq war, said in her first interview that she is not the Rambo-style hero she has been portrayed as by American media and the military.

Former U.S. Army private Jessica Lynch, who was injured and captured in an ambush in Iraq, is shown during an interview with ABC television's Diane Sawyer in this undated publicity photograph.  [ABC/Reuters]
Lynch, 20, told ABC network reporter Diane Sawyer in an interview to be aired on "Primetime" next Tuesday, the same day as her authorized biography is published, that she never fired a shot when ambushed.

"My weapon did jam and I did not shoot, not a round, nothing. I don't look at myself as a hero. My heroes are Lori (Private Lori Piestewa, who died in the ambush of Lynch's convoy), the soldiers that are over there, the soldiers that were in the car beside me, the ones that came and rescued me," she said.

Lynch is still recovering from injuries to her spine, and cannot walk without crutches. She has no feeling in her left foot and has other medical problems.

Lynch, who became a symbol of U.S. heroism during the early stages of the war on Iraq, insisted, "I am just a survivor."

In an advance, partial copy of the ABC interview, Lynch said she was hurt that other people had "made up stories" about her fiercely fighting her Iraqi captors.

"I'm not about to take credit for something that I didn't do... It hurt in a way that people would make up stories that they had no truth about. Only I would have been able to know that because the other four people on my vehicle aren't here to tell that story."


Jessica Lynch is shown during an interview with ABC television's Diane Sawyer (L)  [Reuters]
Lynch, a supply clerk who was awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and the Prisoner of War medal, received an honorable military discharge from the Army in August due to her injuries, allowing her to sign the $1 million book deal.

U.S. commandos filmed their rescue of Lynch from the Iraqi hospital on April 1, nine days after she was captured at the onset of the war.

An early media report quoted unnamed U.S. officials as saying she "fought to the death" before being captured and suffered multiple gunshot wounds. The Army later concluded she was hurt when her Humvee crashed into another vehicle in the convoy after being hit by a grenade.

Sawyer asked Lynch if she went down "like, somebody said, Rambo?"

"No, I went down praying on my knees," she replied.

Lynch said she was thankful to the soldiers who rescued her but said she was troubled by the way the incident was portrayed by the military.

POW Jessica Lynch, hailed by some as a symbol of American patriotism after her rescue during the Iraq war, was sodomized by her captors, according to a new book. The book, 'I Am a Soldier Too - The Jessica Lynch Story,' goes on sale on Nov. 11, 2003. [Reuters/File]
"It does (bother me) that they used me as a way to symbolize all this stuff ... yeah, it's wrong ... I don't know why they filmed it, or why they say the things they, you know."

The full details of her story have yet to come out since Lynch said she suffered a loss of memory after her capture.

ABC said that in the interview she discussed for the first time a report she was sexually assaulted during her captivity, saying that she did not remember such an incident but adding, "even just the thinking about that, that's too painful."

According to Sawyer, the book "I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story," cites a medical record as indicating that Lynch was raped.

The young private was captured by Iraqis on March 23 near Nassiriya. Eleven other U.S. soldiers were killed and nine wounded in the incident.

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