First Woman Gets Silver Star Since WW II

Discussion in 'Veteran's Forum' started by RussP, Jun 16, 2005.

  1. RussP

    RussP Super Moderator Moderator

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    Jun 16, 5:56 PM EDT

    First Woman Gets Silver Star Since WW II

    By JOHN J. LUMPKIN
    Associated Press Writer

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- A 23-year-old sergeant with the Kentucky National Guard on Thursday became the first female soldier to receive the Silver Star - the nation's third-highest medal for valor - since World War II.

    Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, who is from Nashville, Tenn., but serves in a Kentucky unit, received the award for gallantry during a March 20 insurgent ambush on a convoy in Iraq. Two men from her unit, the 617th Military Police Company of Richmond, Ky., also received the Silver Star for their roles in the same action.

    According to military accounts of the firefight, insurgents attacked the convoy as it traveled south of Baghdad, launching their assault from trenches alongside the road using rifles, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. Hester and her unit moved through enemy fire to the trenches, attacking them with grenades before entering and clearing them.

    She killed at least three insurgents with her M4 rifle, according to her award citation. In the entire battle, 26 or 27 insurgents were killed and several more were captured, according to various accounts. Several Americans were also wounded in the firefight.

    "Her actions saved the lives of numerous convoy members. Sgt. Hester's bravery is in keeping with the finest traditions of military heroism," her award citation reads.

    "I'm honored to even be considered, much less awarded, the medal," Hester told the American Forces Press Service, a military-run information service. "It really doesn't have anything to do with being a female. It's about the duties I performed that day as a soldier."

    Hester, a native of Bowling Green, Ky., joined the Kentucky Army National Guard in April 2001 and moved to Nashville in 2003, according to a biography provided by the Army. She works as a retail store manager. Her unit deployed to Iraq in November 2004 and remains in the Baghdad area, escorting convoys and assisting the Iraqi Highway Patrol.

    Also receiving the Silver Star for that action was Staff Sgt. Timothy Nein of Henryville, Ind., and Spc. Jason Mike of Radcliff, Ky. Five other members of their unit received other medals for the action, including another woman, Spc. Ashley Pullen of Edmonton, Ky.

    The awards to Hester and Pullen come only weeks after some Republicans in Congress abandoned an effort to curtail the roles of military women in combat zones. The Pentagon and some Democrats and other Republicans opposed the measure.

    Current Pentagon policy prohibits women from serving in frontline combat roles - in the infantry, armor or artillery, for example. But the nature of the war in Iraq, with no real front lines, has seen women soldiers take part in close-quarters combat more than in any previous conflict.
    **************************

    YES!!!!!!!
     
  2. WIG19

    WIG19 Light left on

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    Here's the WaPo version of the story which also lists the other medals earned, although neither of these does justice to the contact report - it was a vicious fight & several of those a'holes were carrying flex-cuffs for taking hostages. Fortunately aimed head-shots outrank flex-cuffs.
    ^c
    I'm privileged to meet so many great Soldiers as they pass through here headed downrange. Met SGT Hester & couple of the others from the 617th. Simply recall them as "squared away." Quality of unit leadership is often reflected in the way junior NCO's perform & their training focus during pre-deployment saved lives (and sent the bad guys back to their "garden" plot in Paradise). HOOAH!
    ;?
    ------------
    Washington Post
    June 17, 2005
    Pg. 21

    Soldier Earns Silver Star For Her Role In Defeating Ambush

    By Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post Staff Writer

    Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester fought her way through an enemy ambush south of
    Baghdad, killing three insurgents with her M-4 rifle to save fellow soldiers' lives -- and yesterday became the first woman since World War II to win the Silver Star medal for valor in combat.

    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.

    Hester, a varsity softball and basketball player in high school, joined the Army in 2001 and was assigned to the Kentucky National Guard's 617th Military Police Company, based in Richmond, Ky.

    A female driver with the unit, Spec. Ashley J. Pullen of Danville, Ky., also won the Bronze Star for her bravery. Pullen laid down fire to suppress insurgents and then "exposed herself to heavy AIF fires in order to provide medical assistance to her critically injured comrades," saving several lives, her citation said.

    Six other soldiers with Hester's unit won awards for defeating the ambush, leaving 27 insurgents dead, six wounded and one captured. They include Hester's squad leader, Staff. Sgt. Timothy F. Nein, who also won the Silver Star.
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  3. RussP

    RussP Super Moderator Moderator

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    Flex-cuffs huh, that'll never be in the MSM coverage.

    I think Hester summed it up here, "It really doesn't have anything to do with being a female. It's about the duties I performed that day as a soldier."

    ;? ;? ;?
     
  4. WIG19

    WIG19 Light left on

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    Are you listening, Washington?
    (many of them have degrees from the University of Idontknowjack)

    For those Reserve Component Soldiers who've not yet made the trip downrange, this is why you train hard at the mob-station. We want to see you prevail & come home.
    ;?
     
  5. RussP

    RussP Super Moderator Moderator

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    Did you work with any of the 56th BCT, Texas National Guard?

    That's my son's unit.

    :cool:
     
  6. GlocknAK

    GlocknAK

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    It's kind of a long post, but I haven't seen the story of what actually happenned that day posted here. Being an Army Reserve MP I am particularly proud of the way these NG soldiers performed that day. But then again, I would never have expected anything less. EXCELENCE ALWAYS!!! HOOOAAAHH!!!

    edited to say:

    Sorry guys, I pulled the narrative of what actually happenned that day per a comment from another member that the copy that he had seen said For Official Use Only. While I have seen this story up on one other website, I would never intentionally compromise operational security.

    To the member that gave me the heads up. Thank you. Mistake on my part. I will attempt to repost the narrative after I clip anything that shouldn't be in there. I had read this a good while back and didn't even think about the conclusions that were drawn at the end of it.;g
     
  7. RussP

    RussP Super Moderator Moderator

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    Excellent post GlocknAK.^c ^c

    Do you have a link to your resource? I'd like to send it to a few non-GT people.

    Thanks

    RussP
     
  8. GlocknAK

    GlocknAK

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    Sorry RussP, I got it from my section leader back home. Where he got it....? I've seen it up in the Provost Marshall's Office there as well. I deleted the author's info (a Military Police CSM who at least at the time was in country), due to opsec concerns.

    I've looked a little bit, and this is another story that I haven't found online. We never hear about the good stuff from mainstream media. (IMHO)
     
  9. RussP

    RussP Super Moderator Moderator

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    No problem sir, there are several stories online that confirm 99% of the details of the viciousness of the ambush and attack.

    Too bad there wasn't some air cover to take out that house and help suppress fire. Yes, air cover, hey, I'm Air Force, what would you expect me to say;f

    :cool:
     
  10. WIG19

    WIG19 Light left on

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    Negative, sir. Didn't have the honor; must've been a different mob-station. Had to check, though, because there is sometimes seemingly no correlation between the unit's home station and the mob-station they're sent to pre-deployment. (Probably more to do with balancing the load at the various MS.)

    GlocknAK: re your post of the AAR. What you have is pretty much the FOUO contact report that jives with what I got from their Bde S-2. Email is on the way.
    ;?
     
  11. WIG19

    WIG19 Light left on

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    Russ you got me chuckling re-reading that because, yes, I would expect you to say that. ^c

    While the daylight prescription for that disease may not have been a Spectre (one of my personal favorites), I'd think there's use for an A-10 in that scenario. Would teach some BG's what it means to "Go Ugly."
    ;?
     
  12. RussP

    RussP Super Moderator Moderator

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    Hey, I flew in A-1Es on CAS and SAR. I would love to have "Gone Ugly" on the BGs...

    I don't know what it's like with nose cannons, but let me tell you, when you fire the wing guns on an A-1, you want to do it again... And napalm in a ditch...AWESOME!!!!


    :cool: :cool:
     
  13. RussP

    RussP Super Moderator Moderator

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    [​IMG]

    A-1 with "a load"!!!!!
     
  14. 16vmkII

    16vmkII Whipped

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    Good for her!!! And she's kinda hot too!!!;c
     
  15. WIG19

    WIG19 Light left on

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    Was once a very welcome sight for this scared young kid "a long time ago, in a land far away..."

    ;?
    In my book Spads are Sierra Hotel!http://skyraider.org/skyassn/index.htm
     
  16. RussP

    RussP Super Moderator Moderator

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    It was a pleasure being in one providing cover or support or just messing up Charlie's day.

    I've said it before, I miss the combat days when I'd get in a bad mood and be able to call Base Ops, see if there was an A-1E scheduled, call the Squadron and ask if I could hitch a ride, then go out to the flight line, strap in and go play "Get Charlie".

    But then I was younger and invincible.

    Are you at liberty to say where your were when that "very welcome sight" appeared?

    :cool:
     
  17. RussP

    RussP Super Moderator Moderator

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    WIG19, when I flew in A-1s, it was with the 1st SOS, 22nd SOS and the 602nd SOS, respective call signs "Hobo", "Zorro", "Firefly", and yes, "Sandy" when on a SAR.

    I have heard a few greatful voices over the radio thanking us for the work.



    :cool: :cool:
     
  18. Black Tiger

    Black Tiger

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    She's an MP! Hooah! Good job sergeant ;? ; is good to hear that my fellow 95 Bravos are taking out the garbage in Iraq.

    OF THE TROOPS AND FOR THE TROOPS