Tuesday, May 06, 2008

What Goes With A Silver Star?

You know, the third highest medal of honor? If you are a woman who gets it, you will also be removed from your unit. Yup:

A 19-year-old medic from Texas will become the first woman in Afghanistan and only the second woman since World War II to receive the Silver Star, the nation's third-highest medal for valor.

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.

The first woman to receive the Silver Star after WWII was Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, in Iraq.

But Monica Lin Brown was taken out of her unit, because of that army ban on women in combat units. The ban makes no sense in Iraq or in Afghanistan where the front is everywhere. Still, she was pulled:

Brown stayed in the field for two more days, while U.S. Apache helicopter gunships attacked insurgents and blew up the damaged Humvee. Within a week, however, she was abruptly called back to the sprawling U.S. base in Khost.

"I got pulled" by higher-ups, she said, because her presence as "a female in a combat arms unit" had attracted attention.

We must keep up appearances, I guess.