Friday, June 17, 2005

Raven 42: Update

Back in April I wrote a post about an ambush involving a remarkable military police unit under the call sign Raven 42. This unit was part of the 617th Military Police Company, a National Guard unit out of Richmond, Kentucky. On June 16th, Staff Sgt. Timothy Nein, Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester and Spc. Jason Mike received the Silver Star for their actions during the ambush on their convoy.

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."

As I noted in my previous post, the media (in what little coverage there is) will play up the fact that she is a woman. But the fact is, more than anything, Sgt. Hester is a damn fine soldier! And that goes as well for SSgt. Nein, Spc. Mike and the rest of the unit.

You can read more here and here.