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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 5, January 29, 2006, Article 4

FIRST WOMAN SINCE WWII AWARDED SILVER STAR

Although it has just come to our attention through a
recent blog entry, on June 16, 2005 Kentucky National
Guard soldier Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester became the first
woman awarded the Silver Star for actions in Iraq, for
heroism during a March convoy mission. According the
the blog entry quoted below, Hester was the first woman
since WWII to be awarded the medal:

"The 23-year-old retail store manager from Bowling Green,
Ky., won the award for skillfully leading her team of
military police soldiers in a counterattack after about
50 insurgents ambushed a supply convoy they were guarding
near Salman Pak on March 20.

The medal, rare for any soldier, underscores the growing
role in combat of U.S. female troops in Iraq's guerrilla
war, where tens of thousands of American women have served,
36 have been killed and 285 wounded, according to Pentagon
figures.

After insurgents hit the convoy with a barrage of fire from
machine guns, AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled
grenades, Hester "maneuvered her team through the kill zone
into a flanking position where she assaulted a trench line
with grenades and M203 rounds," according to the Army citation
accompanying the Silver Star.

"She then cleared two trenches with her squad leader where
she engaged and eliminated three AIF [anti-Iraqi forces]
with her M4 rifle. Her actions saved the lives of numerous
convoy members," the citation stated."

To read the full entry, see: Full Story

A mention in Stars and Stripes (see June 16): Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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