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Wounded U.S. Troops Arrive in Germany

Wounded U.S. Troops Arrive in Germany

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RAMSTEIN, Germany (AP) -- Sixteen U.S. soldiers wounded in a deadly attack on their helicopter in Iraq arrived early Monday in Germany for treatment at an American military hospital, a spokeswoman said.

Nine of the patients were admitted to the intensive care unit, where five were in a serious condition, said Marie Shaw, a spokeswoman for the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the biggest U.S. military hospital in Europe.

"They are being evaluated and surgeries are planned throughout the day," Shaw said.

Col. Rhonda Cornum, Ramstein base commander who herself survived a deadly attack on a helicopter in the Gulf War, said 11 were in the intensive care unit "seriously injured but stable."

"They're stable and we expect that they will soon go home," she said on the NBC Today show Monday.

The soldiers were injured in a strike Sunday that also killed 16 soldiers when their Chinook helicopter was shot down outside Fallujah.

The injured were among nearly 30 soldiers who arrived aboard a C-17 transport in predawn rain at the Ramstein Air Base Monday. Fourteen were taken on stretchers to an ambulance bus waiting to take them to the nearby hospital, while the others walked.

The helicopter was carrying dozens of soldiers heading for leave outside Iraq when, witnesses said, insurgents hiding in a date grove shot it down with missiles.

The death toll was the highest for U.S. troops since March 23 -- the first week of the invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein -- and the attack represented a major escalation in the campaign to drive the U.S.-led coalition out of the country.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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