November 5, 2005
I was reading "old" history of Operation Iraqi Freedom and remembered the story about Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester. Something suddenly occurred to me that I haven't seen anyone mention so far. The award itself isn't really "news," because the MilBlogs were all over it at the time. But there is a special point to note that I'll get to a few paragraphs down.
Sgt. Hester is the first American woman awarded the Silver Star since World War II. The Silver Star is awarded for "gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force." But what is most interesting about Sgt. Hester is that I think she is the first American woman to be awarded that medal for actually attacking and killing the enemy!
Other recipients all received their medals (sometimes posthumously), whether Silver Star, Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Cross, or even Medal of Honor, for heroically performing their duties during air raids or under fire. But those duties were almost all as nurses (the Medal of Honor winner was a Civil-War surgeon, Dr. Mary Walker), except for a couple of pilots. They bravely stuck to their posts and did their duty despite bombs and gunfire. But their duty was to heal, not to kill.
Sgt. Hester is a Military Policewoman. She was assigned to Raven 42, 617th MP Co, Kentucky National Guard, assigned to the 503rd MP Bn (Fort Bragg), 18th MP Bde. She got her Silver Star on June 16th this year for her gallantry during an ambush on a convoy of supply trucks some months earlier. Raven 42 saw the convoy stopped and they charged directly towards the sound of the gunfire.
After her Humvee came under fire, Sgt. Hester grabbed an M4 carbine and an M203 grenade launcher, jumped into an irrigation ditch being used by Iraqi terrorists to fire on her Hummer crew, and killed at least five jihadis. She had to return to her vehicle once to reload, then ran back to the trench to continue clearing it out. She is America's first medal-winning Rambette!
You can read the After Action Report about her engagement at Blackfive.
Of course, until recently, women were not allowed to carry weapons into combat zones (even as MPs). As time passes, we will probably see more and more awards like Sgt. Hester received. Eventually, a woman will be awarded the Medal of Honor for the same reason Audie Murphy received his: for killing bad guys!
Here is Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester receiving her Silver Star:
Hatched by Sachi on this day, November 5, 2005, at the time of 6:29 AM
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Tracked on December 6, 2005 2:26 AM
The following hissed in response by: RBMN
I think the reluctance to let women get on the front lines is more a natural human reluctance to see a woman end up in a dozen bloody, unrecognizable, pieces. I don't think anyone doubts that women can kill the enemy if they have to. Also, there's the possible distractions caused by lack of privacy in combat conditions--combat being 70% boredom, 20% sleep, and 10% terror.
The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith
Great post, Sachi. An excerpt from my Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester :: A key point the MilBlogs overlooked post:
After all that, it took Sachi at Big Lizards to notice a key point that everyone else has failed to mention. Sgt. Hester isn't just the first woman to be awarded the Silver Star since World War II, she's the first American woman ever to [Go read Sachi's post.]
The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith at November 5, 2005 2:07 PM
The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist
War is a nasty 'Thang; however, it is a Dualistic part of humanity. At times, during human history, Women have chosen to take up arms rather than tossing up their legs. In WW2, Russian Women kicked plenty of Nazi Male/male arse whilst Nazi women waited to be raped by Russian males...so to speak.
Anyway, 90% of the time, Women should not be allowed in combat. Prison would prove my point here; however...at times, Women are given a choice between such 'Thangs. Women don't stand a chance in Prison (a Male's Prison), but can be quite useful on a Battle Front, at times. The Silver Star is basically a Combat Award meant for Males who are willing to kill the Enemy whilst 'risking' their own life. From what i have read here, Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester probably deserved the Metal of Honor, but i never met her in my Prison...so to speak.
Women have choices in the Free World and in War...
The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist at November 6, 2005 8:59 PM
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