The Jessica Lynch blitz isn't a feel-good celebration for everyone. Lynch miraculously survived the ambush on the Army's 507th Maintenance Company. First Sgt. Robert Dowdy--scarcely a household name--was killed riding in the military vehicle along with her. His 14-year-old daughter, Kristy, swallows hard at the constant mentions of Jessica's battle. "Don't they know it was Dad's Humvee?" she says. "Don't they know it was Dad doing stuff?"
The U.S. government tried to portray POW Lynch as a hero of the attack. It didn't publicize Sgt. Donald Walters. The 33-year-old cook and mechanic was killed in the ambush, apparently while fighting bravely, suggests a military report. But his parents, Arlene and Norman, got so few questions answered by the Army they finally filed a Freedom of Information request. "I am angry," says his mother, who wants the government to give her son a hero's due. Walters left a wife and three daughters. His 27-year-old widow, Stacie, says: "It seems like after a soldier is dead, they're forgotten."
Some of the living don't get their due, either. Fellow soldiers say Pat Miller, a lanky 23-year-old private, acted heroically in battle, killing eight Iraqis. Despite his valor, Miller, the father of two, is still waiting for his next promotion. "I get paid to be a soldier," he says with a shrug. "That's what I'm supposed to do."
But few soldiers ever have to endure being held captive by the enemy. In Baghdad, the prisoners were held in tiny cells without a toilet, a chair or a bed. The walls were three-foot-wide cinder block, and the color of filth; the doors were solid steel with only a peephole cut through. The ceilings were about 12 feet high. In some rooms, a giant hook was affixed overhead. "You could see where they cut the rope off," David Williams, a downed helicopter pilot locked away with the 507th's prisoners, tells NEWSWEEK. He says the guards sometimes beat them. One time the guards blindfolded Williams and questioned him. "I wasn't answering questions the way they wanted. And this guy spoke English and said, 'You're not being honest with us'." He felt a gun at his temple. "I started crying--I said, 'Please God, don't kill me.' And also I was thinking, 'Please make it quick'."
Shoshana Johnson was one of the 507th's prisoners. But while Lynch is being given 80 percent disability pay, Johnson is getting only 30 percent. It's a difference of $600 or more a month. Shoshana's mother, Eunice, has told reporters her daughter has had a hard time. "She gets depressed," she said. "Her mental state is not what it used to be. She has a lot of medical appointments."
Lynch has plenty of medical appointments, too. But she also has a $1 million memoir, to be released Tuesday, the day she appears on TV with Diane Sawyer. On Friday she goes on the Letterman show. There was a time when all the attention riled Arlene Walters. She thought Lynch was profiting on the backs of the dead. But the disclosure last week that Lynch was raped in captivity changed Walters's views. "I have mixed emotions now," she says. "Maybe I should not judge her."