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Freed POWs get 30 days to rest, recover

Spc. Shoshana Johnson was shot in both ankles and may require additional physical therapy.

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FORT BLISS, Texas (CNN) -- U.S. military health officials declared the five former prisoners of war from the 507th Maintenance Company "in excellent health" Wednesday and gave them 30 days to spend time at home.

"We're anticipating full recovery for all of them," said Col. Glenn Mitchell, commander of the Beaumont Army Medical Center, at a news conference.

"I can tell you that they are in excellent health, and they have no signs of having picked up any illnesses or infections while they were in captivity," he said.

Among the 507th's returning crew was Spc. Shoshana Johnson, who was shot in both ankles. She will require therapy and exercise, but should recover without complications, Mitchell said.

She has been given two walking casts, crutches and a wheelchair.

"She may have some additional physical therapy when she comes back (from leave) but she's doing very well now," Mitchell said.

The other returning members of the 507th are Spc. Joseph Hudson, Pfc. Patrick Miller, Spc. Edgar Hernandez; and Sgt. James Riley.

The group spent nearly three weeks in Iraq before being rescued April 13 with two other U.S. service members who returned to Fort Hood, Texas last Saturday. (Full story)

Mitchell described the 507th soldiers as being in "excellent spirits," but he said they were looking forward to getting time off before having to return to duty.

"They have had about enough of our poking and prodding, and they'll be really happy to be returned to their units today to start a convalescent leave that will begin within the next couple of days," he said.

While on leave and when they return, each of the former prisoners of war will continue to have access to follow-up care as needed, including any physical exams or mental health counseling to prevent long-term psychological problems. However, there was no indication of any serious problem, psychological or otherwise, according to Mitchell.

He recommended that they quietly recuperate at home and avoid too much public attention.

"It's the pressure of recounting and the public and the press that just adds to the stress," he said.

The former POWs will begin their leave by Friday and will be expected to return back to work in late May.

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