In 2005, on a supply convoy in Salman Pak, Iraq, just south of Baghdad, Leigh Ann Hester and her soldiers were ambushed.
Her squad consisted of two women and eight men in three humvees. They were ambushed by more than 50 insurgent fighters, wielding AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenades, and RPK machine gun fire, according to her award citation.
Hester, a sergeant assigned to the 617th Military Police Company with the Kentucky Army National Guard, led her team out of the ambush’s kill zone and into a flanking position, cutting off the insurgents’ escape route.
What was once an ambush quickly became a terrible day for the enemy.
Now on the offensive, Hester and her platoon sergeant, Staff Sgt. Timothy Nein, assaulted the trench line with hand grenades and M203 grenade rounds. They cleared two trenches in this manner, and engaged dozens of insurgent fighters in small-arms fire.
In all, 27 insurgents were killed, six were wounded, and one was captured. Hester herself reportedly killed at least three of them.
For her actions that day, Hester was awarded the Army’s third-highest award for gallantry in combat, the Silver Star medal. Nein received the second highest award, the Distinguished Service Cross. The platoon medic, Spc. Jason Mike, also received a Silver Star.
Hester is one of the most combat-decorated women in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, she’s the first woman to receive the Silver Star since World War II. Only one other woman has received the award since 9/11, Spc. Monica Lin Brown in 2008 for actions in Afghanistan.
Hester’s award is a testament to the blurred and undefined front lines in counter-terrorism and counterinsurgency operations.
"Your training kicks in and the soldier kicks in," Hester said when she received the award, according to a U.S. Army report. "It's your life or theirs ... You've got a job to do — protecting yourself and your fellow comrades."
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.
In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested on Jan. 29, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Wilmington Police Department, North Carolina.)
A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elyse Ping Medvigy conducts a call-for-fire during an artillery shoot south of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2014. Medvigy, a fire support officer assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's Company D, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is the first female company fire support officer to serve in an infantry brigade combat team supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston (Photo by U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston)
Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.
So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.