Staff Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester

National Guard Bureau paiting of Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester. Hester was awarded the Silver Star along with Sgt. Jason Mike and Staff Sgt. Timothy Nein. Nein's award was later upgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross. They were awarded the medals for their actions with the 617th Military Police Company during an ambush in Iraq on March 20, 2005. Nein's squad was escorting a convoy of supply trucks near the town of Salman Pak, south of Baghdad, when the convoy came under heavy fire. Without hesitation, Nein and his squad put themselves and their vehicles between the insurgents and the convoy. Nein and Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, the first woman awarded the Silver Star for direct combat action against an enemy, dismounted from their armored Humvees and led the counterattack against the ambush, killing 27 insurgents and capturing seven more. Two soldiers in the squad were wounded during the engagement, which lasted roughly 30 minutes.

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