Tuesday, July 29, 2003

PFC Lynch: Survivor

I have been reading the US Army Official Report on 507th Maintenance Co.: An Nasiriyah, Iraq [.pdf] This report describes, in narrative form, the attack on an element of the U.S. Army 507th Maintenance Company by Iraqi military forces and irregulars in the city of An Nasiriyah on 23 March 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. That is, the "lessons learned" document from which our military planners decide what we did right, what we did wrong, and what to do differently next time. Focusing on the "activities" of our newest "hero," as the President has decreed we label PFC Jessica Lynch, it is easy to see why she survived and others died. Her formula for survival? Sit in the back seat of a HumVee, with a soldier on each side, and do nothing. One of her compatriots, PFC Patrick Miller, did exactly the opposite: refuse to surrender, shoot at the enemy, and travel 16 miles through enemy territory, killing the enemy as you go. Even though he got the Silver Star, I had never heard his name before, while "Jessie" the "hero" gets a movie and book deal. No wonder she can't remember what happened. Nothing did happen. She sat in a dark HummVee until it crashed, and then she woke up in a hospital.

Life may not be fair, but calling any captured soldier a hero, while we forget the actions of the real thing, makes me sick. Other things in the report are pretty strange as well, such as the fact that almost all of the weapoms the troops had with them failed, and the poor leadership shown by Captain Troy King. But a true hero has emerged from this action. PFC Patrick Miller, I salute you.