Leigh Ann Hester
Sergeant, US Army
First female U.S. Army soldier to receive the Silver Star
Leigh Ann is one of only 14 women in US military history to receive the Silver Star and the first female to be cited for valor in close quarters combat. Hester's squad was shadowing a supply convoy March 20, 2005 when anti-Iraqi fighters ambushed the convoy. The squad moved to the side of the road, flanking the insurgents and cutting off their escape route. Hester led her team through the "kill zone" and into a flanking position, where she assaulted a trench line with grenades and M203 grenade-launcher rounds. She and Staff Sgt. Timothy Nein, her squad leader, then cleared two trenches, at which time she killed three insurgents with her rifle. When the fight was over, 27 insurgents were dead, six were wounded, and one was captured. She has been in the National Guard since 2001.
- The Washington Post Article