Intelligence: November 10, 2003


: The controversy over PFC Jessica Lynch is an excellent example of how intelligence can be misinterpreted and twisted all out of proportion. An April 3rd Washington Post article said that "PFC Jessica Lynch... fought fiercely and shot several enemy soldiers after Iraqi forces ambushed the Army's 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company, firing her weapon until she ran out of ammunition". The article also went on to detail how Lynch was shot and stabbed.

The article cited unnamed US officials and noted that they were referencing battlefield intelligence, which comes from monitored communications and from Iraqi sources in Nasiriyah (whose reliability had, at that time, yet to be assessed). On June 17 the Washington Post published a lengthy investigation discrediting some of those initial reports, including it's own exclusive report that she fired back at her attackers. Lynch later admitted that after the accident and with her rifle jammed, she put her head between her hands and prayed.

For 60 to 90 minutes on the morning of March 23rd, 33 soldiers from the 507th Maintenance Company tried make up for a wrong turn while breaking contact with hostile forces. The 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade attempted to mount a rescue attempt. By the time the shooting stopped, the 507th had lost 11 dead and six captured. The Marines had lost nine men killed.

As reticent as Lynch is now, there were true heroes in that column. 1SG Robert Dowdy was doing a damned good job pulling the pieces of his company out of the ambush, right up until he was killed in a Humvee wreck. PFC Patrick Miller slowed his own vehicle enough to rescue stranded comrades and when finally dismounted, tried to steal a dump truck to get them moving again. Miller took out an Iraqi mortar crew, one by one with a rifle that'd only fire single shots and when his M-16 finally jammed, picked up other's weapon to try to keep fighting and when captured, sang just to annoy the piss out of his captors. 

But one of those dead 507th soldiers may have actually performed the deeds attributed to PFC Lynch, to the point where he had the Iraqis talking about him. Donald Walters was a cook with the 507th Maintenance Company, had fought in Operation Desert Storm, before retiring from the Army in 1992. He served in an Army Reserve unit in Independence from May 1996 until July 2002, then reenlisted in 2002 with the 507th to give his family greater stability.

That morning, SGT Walters and PVT Brandon Sloan were in a five-ton tractor-trailer that became disabled. Miller, riding in the 5-ton wrecker behind, picked up Sloan on the fly but no one is sure what happened to Walters. Walters' mother told one reporter that a 507th member who was there that if she should "read a report about a female solder, it was referring to Don". The source said that in translating from the Arabic to the English, genders can get mixed up. Walters noted that both her son and Lynch had blond hair and were very thin, but that the Iraqis may not have noticed that her son was about a foot taller than Lynch. 

The Army had provided Water's widow with an autopsy report, which showed that he had been stabbed twice in the stomach and shot in the leg and twice in the back. Both bullets in the back had punctured Water's heart. 

Does any of this sound familiar? Like the stab wounds and gunshots that Lynch supposedly suffered?

The Army's report suggests SGT Donald Walters might have been left alone to fight against hostile Iraqi troops, but states "the circumstances of his death cannot be conclusively determined by available information." There's no one left alive who can tell what happened, save for the Iraqis who participated in the attack and it's unlikely they'll ever be willingly found. - Adam Geibel

SGT Donald Walters wrote a children's story about his first fishing trip with his father. His family and an independent illustrator are trying to get the story published.

Visit the SGT Walters Book Project:

The Army's report on the 507th. 


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