Seven American POWs Found Near Tikrit
The soldiers include Apache helicopter pilots and Army Chief Warrant Officers Ronald Young and David Williams, as well as Sgt. James Riley, Spc. Shoshana Johnson, Pfc. Patrick Miller, Spc. Joseph Hudson, and Spc. Edgar Hernandez of the 507th Maintenance Company, Central Command said in a statement.
The five members of the 507th Maintenance Company were captured after their convoy was ambushed March 23 near the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriya. Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch, who also went missing in the Nasiriya ambush, was rescued on April 1.
The two pilots were taken after their helicopter was downed the same day. The Pentagon had listed all seven as prisoners of war.
An Army nurse in Kuwait told the Associated Press that all seven have been released from a military hospital following a medical assessment.
Army Lt. Col. Ruth Lee said three of the soldiers were examined for injuries and that the other four were assessed and found to have no problems, the Associated Press reported.
Central Command chief Tommy Franks told Fox News that the Marines found the soldiers while acting on an Iraqi tip.
“Someone came up to our Marines moving along the road headed for Tikrit and said, ‘Here shortly you’re going to come in contact with a number of Americans, just so you know’,” Franks, head of U.S. Central Command, told Fox News.
Speaking to reporters, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Iraqis came up to American military and revealed the location of the seven soldiers, saying the Marines should “go get them.”
“They’re in good shape. Two have gunshot wounds,” Rumsfeld said, adding that the families of the seven were being notified.
Watching video footage of his son Ronald Young Jr. preparing to fly to Kuwait after his liberation, Ronald Young Sr. exclaimed, “It’s him, and I’m just so happy that I could kiss the world.”
The family of Specialist Shoshana Johnson, the only woman officially listed by the Pentagon as a prisoner of war, said the Defense Department told them she had been recovered, according to CNN.
“We are ecstatic that not only is she safe, but that all the POWs are in U.S. hands,” her father, Claude Johnson, said in a statement read by a family spokesperson.