POSTED: Saturday, March 23, 2013 - 10:19pm
UPDATED: Sunday, March 24, 2013 - 6:27pm
A soldier's worst nightmare -- lost in an unknown land and right into the hands of the enemy.
Ten years ago today, that nightmare came true for the 507th Maintenance Company, a convoy from Fort Bliss. On March 23rd, 2003, the 507th was traveling through southern Iraq when a GPS error led the soldiers into the town of Nasariyah. An ambush hit the company. Eleven soldiers were killed and five others were wounded.
Specialist Shoshana Johnson from El Paso was taken prisoner.
"All the way to Baghdad they stopped at every little town to show us off. We were their prize. I got slapped, I got spit on, just humiliated. We got to Baghdad blindfolded, interrogated, and you know, I kept waiting for the torture and it never came," said Shoshana in a 2010 interview.
Shoshana was held for 22 days and later rescued by Marines.
Jessica Lynch, a second POW from El Paso, was rescued from an Iraqi hospital, and returned to the Borderland 6 days later for a hero's welcome.
"The 507th fought bravely and they fought courageously, however, they were overwhelmed by a combination of the situation, the fatigue, and the isolation," said Major Joe Buccino, spokesperson for Fort Bliss.
Major Joe Buccino says tragedy is inevitable during times of war. Lives are lost, but most importantly, lessons are learned.
"The most important thing we learned from this incident is that all of our soldiers, whether they're medics, whether they're mechanics, whether they're supply clerks, they have to be infantry men first," said Major Buccino.
It remains one of the worst fatal attacks on Fort Bliss soldiers in the Middle East. Major Buccino says this is only one piece of a much bigger story about the tragedies of American soldiers during the war on terror.
"Every installation, every community, every military community has their own story of Iraq and their own story of Afghanistan."
The 507th Maintenance Company was dissolved and no longer exists today.