Friday, June 17, 2005

Female MP wins Silver Star

My Father in law sent this to me, he is a retired MP with 29 and a half years in so if this impressed him, it surely does impress me

Look into the face of valor and what do you see....

Could you have done what she did? Or what the other 2 soldiers also decorated did? I hope I can say yes if the time ever comes, but no one knows for sure until the rounds start flying. I am awed at what our soldiers, any of our soldiers, can do. I used to worry about them, if they had the mettle, the character to stand up to the fire. Now I know, and I was wrong to worry about them. All I have to do is train them and give them the resources to do their jobs. And they will excel.


Woman Soldier Receives Silver Star for Valor in Iraq

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 16, 2005 – For the first time since World War II, a woman soldier was awarded the Silver Star Medal today in Iraq.

Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, vehicle commander, 617th Military Police Company, Richmond, Ky., stands at attention before receiving the Silver Star at an awards ceremony at Camp Liberty, Iraq, June 16. Hester is the first woman soldier since World War II to receive the Silver Star. Photo by Spc. Jeremy D. Crisp, USA (high-resolution image available). Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester of the 617th Military Police Company, a National Guard unit out of Richmond, Ky., received the Silver Star, along with two other members of her unit, Staff Sgt. Timothy Nein and Spc. Jason Mike, for their actions during an enemy ambush on their convoy. Other members of the unit also received awards.

Hester's squad was shadowing a supply convoy March 20 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 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.
Hester, 23, who was born in Bowling Green, Ky., and later moved to Nashville, Tenn., said she was surprised when she heard she was being considered for the Silver Star.

"I'm honored to even be considered, much less awarded, the medal," she said.

Being the first woman soldier since World War II to receive the medal is significant to Hester. But, she said, she doesn't dwell on the fact. "It really doesn't have anything to do with being a female," she said. "It's about the duties I performed that day as a soldier."

Hester, who has been in the National Guard since April 2001, said she didn't have time to be scared when the fight started, and she didn't realize the impact of what had happened until much later.

"Your training kicks in and the soldier kicks in," she said. "It's your life or theirs. ... You've got a job to do -- protecting yourself and your fellow comrades."

Nein, who is on his second deployment to Iraq, praised Hester and his other soldiers for their actions that day. "It's due to their dedication and their ability to stay there and back me up that we were able to do what we did that day," he said.

Hester and her fellow soldiers were awarded their medals at Camp Liberty, Iraq, by Army Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, Multinational Corps Iraq commanding general. In his speech, Vines commended the soldiers for their bravery and their contribution to the international war on terror.

"My heroes don't play in the (National Basketball Association) and don't play in the U.S. Open (golf tournament) at Pinehurst," Vines said. "They're standing in front of me today. These are American heroes."

Three soldiers of the 617th were wounded in the ambush. Hester said she and the other squad members are thinking about them, and she is very thankful to have made it through unscathed. The firefight, along with the entire deployment, has had a lasting effect on her, Hester said.

"I think about it every day, and probably will for the rest of my life," she said.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

D-Day 2005 redux

HOW THE D-DAY INVASION WOULD BE REPORTED BY TODAY'S PRESS:

NORMANDY, FRANCE (June 6, 1944)

Three hundred French civilians were killed and thousands more were wounded today in the first hours of America's invasion of continental Europe. Casualties were heaviest among women and children. Most of the French casualties were the result of artillery fire from American ships attempting to knock out German fortifications prior to the landing of hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops. Reports from a makeshift hospital in the French town of St. Mere Eglise said the carnage was far worse than the French had anticipated, and that reaction against the American invasion was running high. "We are dying for no reason, "said a Frenchman speaking on condition of anonymity. "Americans can't even shoot straight. I never thought I'd say this, but life was better under Adolph Hitler." The invasion also caused severe environmental damage. American troops, tanks, trucks and machinery destroyed miles of pristine shoreline and thousands of acres of ecologically sensitive wetlands. It was believed that the habitat of the spineless French crab was completely wiped out, thus threatening the species with extinction. A representative of Greenpeace said his organization, which had tried to stall the invasion for over a year, was appalled at the destruction, but not surprised. "This is just another example of how the military destroys the environment without a second thought," said Christine Moanmore. "And it's all about corporate greed."

Contacted at his Manhattan condo, a member of the French government-in- exile who abandoned Paris when Hitler invaded, said the invasion was based solely on American financial interests. "Everyone knows that President Roosevelt has ties to 'big beer'," said Pierre LeWimp. "Once the German beer industry is conquered, Roosevelt's beer cronies will control the world market and make a fortune."

Administration supporters said America's aggressive actions were based in part on the assertions of controversial scientist Albert Einstein, who sent a letter to Roosevelt speculating that the Germans were developing a secret weapon -- a so-called "atomic bomb". Such a weapon could produce casualties on a scale never seen before, and cause environmental damage that could last for thousands of years. Hitler has denied having such a weapon and international inspectors were unable to locate such weapons even after spending two long weekends in Germany.

Shortly after the invasion began, reports surfaced that German prisoners had been abused by American soldiers. Mistreatment of Jews by Germans at their so-called "concentration camps" has been rumored, but so far this remains unproven.

Several thousand Americans died during the first hours of the invasion, and French officials are concerned that the uncollected corpses will pose a public-health risk. "The Americans should have planned for this in advance," they said. "It's their mess, and we don't intend to help clean it up."