Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Jessica Lynch Rescue... The part you haven't heard about

Ranger Chris Bemiss served multiple combat tours with the 1st Ranger Battalion.  His recollections of the rescue mission are reprinted here with permission.  Chris also volunteers in several capacities with GallantFew, in particular to tell others of the dangers of DUI - as he is now paralyzed mid-chest down.  RLTW  km

Look to the bottom of the post for an update.  4/3/14 km

The Jessica Lynch Rescue...
The part you haven't heard about...
In a few hours it will be 11 years since Bravo 2 walked into the back of a Marine Corp 46 helicopter. I remember the Regimental Commander telling us Rangers "you are about to make history men" but us Rangers had no idea how the Pow Jessica Lynch Rescue Mission would turn into something we never, ever expected!
After the 46 took off towards Nasiriyah I just stared out the back, laughing to myself thinking "well sure looks like Christmas in the sky" and it did tracers and explosions were everywhere.
The helicopter finally sat down in a field and I ran off the ramp and Bam! Fell flat on my face! We had landed in a bunch of large rocks and falling fired me up. After we collected ourselves from the cluster f... landing a squad leader silhouetted himself on the road while shooting a azimuth with his compass to the hospital. I remember my Squad leader Ssg. C yelling at him "you stupid f... the whole world can see you".  Bco then began moving to the hospital in road march formation. Resistance was little and besides a RPG going by way over our heads nobody but Josh Mathis got any trigger time.
As 1st squad neared the wall of the hospital they began moving through a field of water. Water they sank almost waist deep in and soon realized had human body parts in it as well. 1st moved back and my squad 2nd moved around them to place a breach (explosive) on the hospital wall. A SEAL Team was still rescuing the PC (Lynch) so we could not blow the charge. So we were told "use your sledge hammers to put in the breach"! I will never forget me and Adam Kilian in Mop level 5 going crazy on that wall with the sledge hammers. It was like an adrenaline rush from hell. In just a matter of a minutes we had a sizable breach (opening) in the wall.
Meanwhile the SEAL Team had secured Jessica Lynch then moved with her to a spinning Blackhawk helicopter and exfiled from the objective. The call then came in over the radio to blow the breach but me and Killian were like "wtf we already made one" but the Squad Leader wanted to blow it! And so he did!! and since someone didn't inform the Forward Operator Ryan, to send the MH6 Little Bird helicopters up in orbit, we almost blew one out of the sky when the charge exploded.
The perimeter of the hospital was quickly cleared and the realization that Private Lynch's fellow Soldiers bodies were not in the hospital morgue had our interpreters questioning the doctors. The doctors informed them "they are out front in the soccer field, we buried them (Soldiers) days ago. Matthew Doyle my team leader looked at me then and said "let's go"
I remember walking out to the soccer field one of the graves had already been opened and the smell was horrifying it was so powerful it embedded into our clothing and skin for days. The smell was nothing though compared to what we did next. Everyone but a couple of 249 Saw gunners dropped their gear and we began to dig.... We used the only thing we had.... Our hands... Looking down into the mud and seeing your brothers and sisters decaying and falling apart bodies (5 males 3 females) was infuriating. They did not look human and they did feel human. Some where even falling apart. The Sergeant Major told one Ranger from B3 "pick him up by his arms" the Ranger replied "he doesn't have any f***ing arms" and many of us Rangers remember SL John Fader in a rage yelling "shut up and go f*** yourself Sergeant Major" 
I took pleasure in that because hearing the Sgm yell at us "dig faster" was garbage! Especially since all he did was walk back and forth. If the Sgm had been Csm Devens or Csm Greenway they would have been digging hardcore with us Rangers.
We continued digging noticing the female soldiers had IVs and tourniquets, but the male Soldiers looked as if some had been brutally tortured.
Rangers would dig get out of the hole puke and then get back in and keep digging. There was curses and the occasional nervous laugh of Rangers who used whatever means to adapt, overcome and keep on digging. I remember one young Ranger just sitting at the edge of a grave, not moving but just staring down at the dead decaying Soldier in the ground. I told that Ranger "get the f*** out of the way and let this country boy dig" The good Lord blessed Bemiss with a strong stomach and it thankfully helped me move a lot of dirt that night. I remember the different emotions I experienced, anger and hatred for the Iraqis, then there was a surreal moment were I was thinking "God I am so glad that's not me in that hole" The 8 Soldiers remains were recovered and returned to the Country, they died for.
Us Rangers lived the Creed that night!!  
"I will never leave a fallen comrade"
The one thing that has given me peace over the last 11 years after 5 combat tours 24 surgeries and 19 months straight of mental hell in the VA hospital, is this story of Spc. Lori Pestiwa a Hopi Indian who was one of Private Lynch's unit. (Spc. Lori Piestewa was one of the female Soldiers we recovered.)
They say the Hopi Indians in Arizona believe that when it snows, it is their Ancestors (loved ones) who have passed on, returning to tell them that they love them. The day Hopi Indian Spc. Lori Piestewa's body returned to snowed.
RLTW Jay Strong
Footage from the actual rescue mission

Updated 4/3/2014:  Here's another blog with additional information and pictures of those recovered.


  1. Amazing. Above and beyond... My other thoughts are... I would never want my daughter to be in a combat zone. My boys? Not the same.

  2. No mention of the Marines that died in Nasiriyah the days before?

  3. And it would be nice if someone from the government or the person that made the video, WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED TO MY DAUGHTER AND WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED.

  4. I am looking for Adam Kilian. If it is the same killian that I went to all boys trouble kids school with and then later met up with in RIP back in 2000. been looking for him for years.

  5. Thanks for sharing and God Bless you guys!!

  6. My Buddy was one of the SEALs on that mission. He told me that he helped dig up the bodies also. All he had was a pig sticker to dig with. Thought he said they we buried behind the hospital but maybe my feeble mind does not remember. Always wondered about that story and you confirmed his account. He told me that in 2002. David Tapper was KIA hunting OBL in AFG in 2003.

    Bravo Zulu SuperHero Bemiss !!!!!



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