Project Hero: SPC Monica Lin Brown, Silver Star Posted by: McQ
on Saturday, March 15, 2008
Spc. Brown became only the second woman in the War on Terror to receive the Silver Star and the first woman in Afghanistan. Spc. Brown, a 19 year old medic with 4th Squadron of the 73rd Cavalry Regiment, was there for them that day in Afghanistan when her comrades needed her most.
Army Spc. Monica Lin Brown saved the lives of fellow soldiers after a roadside bomb tore through a convoy of humvees in the eastern Paktia province in April 2007, the military said.
After the explosion, which wounded five soldiers in her unit, Brown ran through insurgent gunfire and used her body to shield wounded comrades as mortars fell less than 100 yards away, the military said.
"I did not really think about anything except for getting the guys to a safer location and getting them taken care of and getting them out of there," Brown said Saturday at a U.S. base in the eastern province of Khost.
Brown, of Lake Jackson, Texas, is scheduled to receive the Silver Star later this month.
Pentagon policy prohibits women from serving in frontline combat roles —- in the infantry, armor or artillery, for example. But the nature of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, with no real front lines, has seen women soldiers take part in close-quarters combat more than previous conflicts.
Four Army nurses in World War II were the first women to receive the Silver Star, though three nurses serving in World War I were awarded the medal posthumously last year, according to the Army's Web site.
Brown, of the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, [82nd Airborne Division] said ammunition going off inside the burning humvee was sending shrapnel in all directions. "I was in a kind of a robot-mode, did not think about much but getting the guys taken care of. ...I did not really have time to be scared," she said.
The military said Brown's "bravery, unselfish actions and medical aid rendered under fire saved the lives of her comrades and represents the finest traditions of heroism in combat."
''She just did what she was trained to do," her 74-year-old grandmother, Katy Brown, said from her Lake Jackson home.
Katy Brown said her granddaughter graduated from Brazos River Charter School in Morgan at 15. She joined the Army with her brother, Justin Brown, in November 2006 to get a college education, Katy Brown said.
She said she is not surprised by her granddaughter's heroics.
''She's just a strong, strong young woman, and she's very caring," Katy Brown said.
And she’s a remarkable young woman as well. When her unit came home from Afghanistan and while at home on leave, she contacted Mary Moreno, founder of Military Moms in Lake Jackson.
''When she came home last April, she was an inspiration to all of us," Moreno said. "She became one of us and said, 'What can I do?' "
Monica Brown helped the group pack care packages for soldiers, Moreno said. She also helped them tie yellow ribbons on trees along Oyster Creek Drive in Lake Jackson in honor of the soldiers, she said.
''She is just an amazing young woman who is very down to earth and full of life," Moreno said.
And 5 soldiers now recovering from their wounds are also full of life because of Monica Lin Brown’s bravery under fire as she moved them to safety, shielded them from further injury with her own body, treated them and stabilized them before evacuation.
I think one of the more underreported stories in this conflict has been the heroic role of our women warriors. They've proven to most, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they belong there and can do the jobs they've been given with both competence, proficiency and when necessary, heroism.
PROJECT HERO is an ongoing attempt to highlight the valor of our military as they fight in both Iraq and Afghanistan. We constantly hear the negative and far to little of the positive and inspiring stories coming out of those countries. This is one small attempt to rectify that. If you know of a story of valor you'd like to see highlighted here (published on Saturday), please contact us. And we'd appreciate your link so we can spread the word.