Leigh Ann Hester
|Leigh Ann Hester|
12 January 1982|
Bowling Green, Kentucky, U.S.
|Years of service||2001–2009, 2010–present|
|Rank||Sergeant first class|
617th Military Police Company|
269th Military Police Company
War in Afghanistan
Hurricane Maria response
Army Commendation Medal
|Other work||Law enforcement officer|
Leigh Ann Hester (born 12 January 1982) is a United States Army National Guard soldier. While assigned to the 617th Military Police Company, a Kentucky Army National Guard unit out of Richmond, Kentucky, Hester received the Silver Star for her heroic actions on 20 March 2005 during an enemy ambush on a supply convoy near the town of Salman Pak, Iraq.
Hester enlisted in the U.S. Army in April 2001.
In Iraq, Hester's military police squad consisting of eight men and two women in three Humvees were shadowing a 30-truck supply convoy when approximately 50 insurgent fighters ambushed the convoy with AK-47, RPK machine gun fire, and rocket propelled grenades (RPG). The squad moved to the side of the road, flanking the insurgents and cutting off their escape route. Hester maneuvered her fire team through the kill zone and into a flanking position, where her squad leader, Staff Sergeant Timothy F. Nein, and she assaulted a trench line with hand grenades and M203 grenade launcher rounds. Nein and Hester assaulted and cleared two trenches. During the 25-minute firefight, Hester killed 3 insurgents.
When the battle was over, 27 insurgents were dead, six were wounded, and one captured. Sergeants Nein and Hester were both awarded the Silver Star. Nein's medal was later upgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross.
Hester later transferred to the Tennessee Army National Guard.
Hester took a brief break from the U.S. Army in 2009, and worked as an officer for a civilian law enforcement agency in a Nashville, Tennessee suburb. However, she returned to the military a short while later, in late 2010.
From 2012 to 2014, she served as an instructor at the 117th Regional Training Institute Military Police School. In 2014, she deployed to Afghanistan for 18 months as a Cultural Support Team member. Hester has since been promoted to the rank of sergeant first class. In 2017, Hester deployed to Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands as part of the response to Hurricane Maria. Hester's military police company provided law enforcement support to the U.S. Virgin Islands Police.
Awards and decorations
|Combat Action Badge|
|Army Commendation Medal|
|National Defense Service Medal|
|Afghanistan Campaign Medal|
|Iraq Campaign Medal|
|Armed Forces Reserve Medal|
|NCO Professional Development Ribbon|
|Army Service Ribbon|
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- Chapter "Palm Sunday Ambush", pages 59–81 of In Contact! – Case Studies from the Long War (PDF, 167 pages)
- Complete text of Sergeant Hester's citation for conspicuous gallantry in action
- Women in the U.S. Army
- Media related to Leigh Ann Hester at Wikimedia Commons