Lynch visits reservists who brought her to U.S.
By Brett Turner, 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 05, 2004
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFPN) -- At the time, it was a matter of doing their job. In retrospect, it was a brush with history.
Airmen from Air Force Reserve Command’s 445th Airlift Wing here helped transport then-Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch along with other injured servicemembers from Germany back to the United States in April 2003. It was part of the crew’s normal mission, but hype was just building about Private Lynch, who was injured when her unit was ambushed during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
She was the first American prisoner of war rescued since World War II and the first female soldier to be rescued. The Soldier soon became a media sensation.
Five wing Airmen were involved with her transport on a C-141 Starlifter. Three of them -- Capt. Kimm Sandusky, Tech. Sgt. Hans Jagow and Staff Sgt. Sandi Golden-Vest -- met Ms. Lynch face-to-face for the first time Aug. 3. Ms. Lynch was here visiting as a guest of Camp Wright-Patterson's Operation Purple for children of deployed military parents, a program for which she is the spokeswoman.
Ms. Lynch said she was glad to be able to meet the Airmen. At the time of her return flight, she said did not remember much because she was in pain and under medication. Only later did she recall events with the help of photos and video.
Despite the media attention, it was business as usual for the crew.
"We didn't know until the night before we would be transporting her," said Sergeant Golden-Vest. "We knew of her, she was all over the media, but our job (was) the same.
Sergeant Jagow said the media attention was helpful in showing others what he does for the Air Force.
"This is not a job you can bring (friends) into your office to show them what you do," he said. "What was really neat about it was all my friends and family saw it on television and they understood what I did (afterward)."
The Airmen said one of the nice things about being able to meet Ms. Lynch was they do not usually get to meet any patients they have transported. The feeling was mutual.
"It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime thing to be able to talk with them," said Ms. Lynch of her meeting.
One of the things that stands out about the journey for Ms. Lynch is being given a wing hat to wear so she would look better when she landed in the United States from Germany. Part of her head had been shaved because of her injuries.
She jokingly said she has better hair now.