Washington, DC – Nashville resident and Bowling Green native Leigh Ann Hester has become the first female soldier to receive the Silver Star...the nation's third highest medal for valor...since WWII.
The 23 year old Sgt. Hester serves with a Kentucky Army National Guard unit based in Richmond. She received the award Thursday in Washington for gallantry during a March 20th insurgent ambush on a convoy in Iraq.
According to military accounts, insurgents launched their assault from trenches alongside the road using rifles, machine guns and rocket propelled grenades. Hester and her unit moved through enemy fire to the trenches, attacking them with grenades before entering and clearing them.
She killed at least three insurgents with her M-4 rifle.
Hester joined the Guard in 2001 and moved to Nashville in 2003 where she works as a retial store manager.
Her father, Jerry Hester of Bowling Green, says she is the first female in her family to serve in the military following in the footsteps of her grandfather who served in WWII and her uncle who saw duty in Vietnam