Woman earns Silver Star in Afghan war
Woman earns Silver Star in Afghan war
By FISNIK ABRASHI, Associated Press Writer
Sun Mar 9, 1:11 PM ET
CAMP SALERNO, Afghanistan - A 19-year-old medic from Texas will become the first woman in Afghanistan and only the second female soldier since World War II to receive the Silver Star, the nation's third-highest medal for valor.
Army Spc. Monica Lin Brown saved the lives of fellow soldiers after a roadside bomb tore through a convoy of Humvees in the eastern Paktia province in April 2007, the military said.
After the explosion, which wounded five soldiers in her unit, Brown ran through insurgent gunfire and used her body to shield wounded comrades as mortars fell less than 100 yards away, the military said.
"I did not really think about anything except for getting the guys to a safer location and getting them taken care of and getting them out of there," Brown told The Associated Press on Saturday at a U.S. base in the eastern province of Khost.
Brown, of Lake Jackson, Texas, is scheduled to receive the Silver Star later this month. She was part of a four-vehicle convoy patrolling near Jani Kheil in the eastern province of Paktia on April 25, 2007, when a bomb struck one of the Humvees.
"We stopped the convoy. I opened up my door and grabbed my aid bag," Brown said.
She started running toward the burning vehicle as insurgents opened fire. All five wounded soldiers had scrambled out.
"I assessed the patients to see how bad they were. We tried to move them to a safer location because we were still receiving incoming fire," Brown said.
Pentagon policy prohibits women from serving in front-line combat roles — in the infantry, armor or artillery, for example. But the nature of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, with no real front lines, has seen women soldiers take part in close-quarters combat more than previous conflicts.
Four Army nurses in World War II were the first women to receive the Silver Star, though three nurses serving in World War I were awarded the medal posthumously last year, according to the Army's Web site.
Brown, of the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, said ammunition going off inside the burning Humvee was sending shrapnel in all directions. She said they were sitting in a dangerous spot.
"So we dragged them for 100 or 200 meters, got them away from the Humvee a little bit," she said. "I was in a kind of a robot-mode, did not think about much but getting the guys taken care of."
For Brown, who knew all five wounded soldiers, it became a race to get them all to a safer location. Eventually, they moved the wounded some 500 yards away and treated them on site before putting them on a helicopter for evacuation.
"I did not really have time to be scared," Brown said. "Running back to the vehicle, I was nervous (since) I did not know how badly the guys were injured. That was scary."
The military said Brown's "bravery, unselfish actions and medical aid rendered under fire saved the lives of her comrades and represents the finest traditions of heroism in combat."
Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, of Nashville, Tenn., received the Silver Star in 2005 for gallantry during an 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.
SPC Brown did a great job! Hooah!
One good result of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has been the conclusive settlement of the question of women in combat.
Before I left Galco for mobilization, one of my coworkers, who might be very slightly to the left of Ghengis Khan, gave me a book. I don't recall the title, but it was basically a 350 page screed about how female service members are supposedly wrecking the military's fighting effectiveness.
I have now seen first hand just how wrong that book is. While my unit does not have any female personnel (we're an infantry battalion), I have seen female soldiers from several other units who acquitted themselves quite admirably over here.
Not everything is sweetness and light with females in the service. Our higher brigade has sent home seven pregnant soldiers thus far. One soldier out at one of our FOBs was nicknamed "Clearing Barrel" for impolite but obvious reasons. But overall, female service members here do a very fine job, and it's not as if male soldiers are without their issues.
Last edited by Mike Barham; 03-10-2008 at 09:44 AM.
Reason: Still working on that grammar thing.
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Respect due! SPC Brown. These stories of heroism need to be told!
Regardless of whether you feel our military commitments are justified, the men and women who do their duty daily deserve recognition.
And... people in the military are human beings, reflecting society. Short of UCMJ violations, crowing on the human weakness of those in uniform serves no positive purpose.
Which is exactly why I posted this story everywhere. With all the crap about the Marine who tossed the puppy off a cliff, I thought it needed to be spread around far and wide. People are quick to post the bad, but the good goes almost unnoticed.
Originally Posted by submoa
Apparently, she has nerves of steel. Which makes sense, cause
she's from Lake Jackson, Texas. I wouldn't mess with a Houston girl. Those insurgents got off lucky.
Those of us that have gotten 'banged' up; I want SPC Brown with me.
Loyalty in battle; Loyalty to each other. People are people with fears, tear's, and willingness, "SPC BROWN" 'ma'am' thank you
Them chap's throwing the 'Puppy' wouldn't have enjoyed some of us being around. can friendly fire be understood. or did they just forget their parachutes?
I caught the tail-end of an interview with her on one of the news channels the other day. She sounded well-spoken and confident in her abilities. Another salute!
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