Piestewa Went to War
for Lynch, Book Says
Book tells of soldiers' days in Iraq
by Mark Shaffer, Republic Flagstaff Bureau
12 November 2003
Piestewa had medical clearance to stay home from Iraq because of
a shoulder injury but chose to deploy because of her deep
friendship with rescued POW Pfc. Jessica Lynch, according to a
book about Lynch released Tuesday.
book, I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story, she also
describes how Army Spc. Piestewa, the only Native American woman
to die in combat on foreign soil, tried to drive a Humvee
through a combat zone in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah.
The book was written by former New York Times reporter Rick
507th Maintenance Company, which had taken a wrong turn into
Nasiriyah during the wee hours of March 23, was ambushed by the
enemy and cut into three sections. Piestewa and Lynch were in
the back of the column amid slow, and some disabled, heavy
said that Piestewa was "grim, focused, almost calm" as
panic broke out inside the Humvee. As Piestewa maneuvered around
firing Iraqi soldiers, debris and dead vehicles, Lynch said,
every munition round seemed to miss or fall off after striking
remembers looking at her best friend and thinking how wrong it
was that Lori was there, in a place where bullets flew past her
head," Bragg wrote. "She swore that she could see it,
could see one round fly past her friend's helmet and clean
through the Humvee."
her own designs, Piestewa could have made it out of the combat
zone, Lynch believes.
they were ordered to drive) through the chaos of the battle,
even as they came apart and the soldiers were killed. Once,
twice, Piestewa circled around to crippled vehicles so that they
could try to give aid or just give orders, but it was
hopeless," Bragg wrote.
came when the Humvee was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade,
seriously wounding Piestewa in the head. The Humvee ran off the
road and slammed into a 5-ton tractor-trailer, killing three
other soldiers in the vehicle.
nearly three hours before Piestewa and Lynch were taken to the
local army hospital by Iraqi troops. Piestewa died shortly after
arrival. Lynch said she was unconscious for about three hours
before arriving at the same hospital. She said she never saw
Piestewa after the Humvee crash.
however, said thoughts of Piestewa helped keep her alive as she
drifted in and out of consciousness in the Iraqi hospital before
she was rescued by U.S. soldiers 10 days later.
days, she said, it had really seemed like Lori was sitting on
the edge of the bed," Bragg wrote.
Lynch was flown back to Germany, she repeatedly asked what had
happened to Piestewa and whether she could speak with her.
no one would tell her anything - and she knew then that Lori was
probably dead," Bragg wrote.
detailed how she and Piestewa, known to everyone in her company
as "Pi," became best friends when they roomed together
at Fort Bliss in El Paso.
had married and had two children shortly after graduating from
Tuba City High School and Lynch taught her "how to be a
girl again," said Piestewa's mother, Percy Piestewa.
"They were inseparable."
give anything . . . '
the convoy was heading north into Iraq, Lynch said, the truck
she was riding in broke down and that Piestewa stopped her
vehicle and said, "Get in, Roomy." They stayed
together until that fateful morning in Nasiriyah.
told Bragg that "I'd give $400 billion . . . I'd give
anything" if she could go into a time machine and persuade
Piestewa not to go to war.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com
or (602) 444-8057.
as an historical reference document under the Fair Use doctrine
of international copyright law. http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html