Leigh Ann Hester
One of the first Badass of the Week articles I ever wrote was about a Marine Lieutenant named Brian Chrontosh who single-handedly took out something like two dozen Iraqi soldiers with his bare hands, a handful of rocket-propelled grenades and a big rusty pipe with a nail sticking out of it. The guy, as I seem to remember writing, was "totally hardcore to the max".
I'm convinced it's my hip lingo that keeps you guys coming back to this site for more.
Well I recently read about another similar story of American badassery in the desert, and I'm not talking about that time my friend Bill won the esteemed title of "Best HALO Player in the 82nd Airborne Division" while serving in Operation Enduring Iraqi Shield Freedom Storm: Hyper Champion Edition a couple months ago. I'm talking about the story of the first woman since World War II to win the prestigious Silver Star for valor in combat: Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester of the 503rd Military Police Battalion, Kentucky National Guard.
On 20 March 2005, a convoy of about thirty civilian supply trucks was driving through the Iraqi countryside just minding it's own business when all of a sudden they were ambushed by a cockload of armed insurgents. The supply train, consisting mostly of unarmored eighteen-wheelers driven by Iraqi and Turkish teamsters with cool CB radio callsigns, instantly found themselves under a steady hail of heavy machine gun and small arms fire from a row of irrigation ditches just off the side of the road, which understandably they were pretty pissed about. One of the two American Humvees escorting the convoy was knocked out almost immediately by RPG fire. The second Hummer pulled up and tried to mount a defense, but all three soldiers were wounded by fire from the concealed enemy positions. With the American soldiers sufficiently suppressed, a group of about thirty insurgent fighters advanced on foot towards the convoy, pulling out handcuffs so they could capture the wounded troops and bring them back, possibly to star in one of those fucked-up internet snuff films that are all the rage amongst radical Mid-East extremists these days.
But the soldiers of the 503rd MP Battalion weren't about to let that happen.
Right as these jackass insurgents are getting ready to start taking hostages, they find out first-hand what it's like to be on the receiving end of a giant stick up the ass. Out of nowhere, three Humvees come flying onto the scene, guns blazing. The insurgents rush back to their trenches and adjust their fire towards the new threat. They manage to hit the middle of the three Hummers with an RPG round, but that only succeeds in making the Americans EVEN MORE PISSED. The roof-mounted .50 caliber machine guns are throwing out lead like a hyperactive ore miner, but the MPs are still taking hits and Sergeants Leigh Ann Hester and Timothy F. Nein realize that they need to get in there and start cracking skulls if their soldiers are going to make it out off this battle alive. They grab their rifles and a handful of grenades, bail out of their Humvee and sprint towards the nearest irrigation ditch.
In her civilian life, Leigh was the manager of a retail store, and if you've ever worked at a place like that, you KNOW that's a fucking tough job and you have to be a total hardass to do it. Well Sgt. Hester got to take out some of her pent-up aggression at dipshit customers on these hapless douchebag insurgents, as she went up and down the trenches capping assholes with her assault rifle and clearing the ditch system of enemy combatants. When she ran out of ammunition, she sprinted back to her Humvee, grabbed some extra mags, and ran right back into the battle. She even moked out an RPG-toting Iraqi out with her underbarrel-mounted M203 automatic grenade launcher.
I sort of picture this going down like the climactic scene in Scarface:
Say hello to my little friend.
When the dust had finally settled twenty-seven enemy fighters were dead, three were wounded, and one of them surrendered. None escaped. On top of that, Sgt. Hester and her troops seized a sizable weapons cache and saved a group of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians from almost certain death, while sustaining only three wounded out of their nine-man squad. Sergeant Hester's prowess on the battlefield, coupled with her effective skills training her soldiers to deal with any situation, led to the complete neutralization of a much larger enemy force and make her a definite badass.
Army Awards MPs for Turning Table on Ambush
BLACKFIVE After Action Report
Washington Post Article
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