Army Spc. Monica Lin Brown has received the Silver Star for her valor in Afghanistan. In an interview on CNN this morning, the 19-year-old Texan told how she used her body to shield five injured comrades, after a roadside bomb struck her convoy last spring. Running through insurgent fire to get to the injured, she administered aid and dragged her fellow soldiers to safety.
Monica is only the second woman since World War Two to receive the Silver Star, one of the army's highest medals. Though Pentagon policy prohibits women from serving in front-line combat roles, the unique nature of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, (without formalized front lines) accounts for more women soldiers taking part in close-quarters combat than in previous conflicts. With the goal of getting a college degree, Monica joined the army with her brother in 2006. Next month, she is expected to return home from Afghanistan, where she is serving as a medic. I hope she enjoys her hero's welcome!
Do you think this is a phenomenon we'll see more often? Does the changing face of war amount to equality of the battlefield? Are women serving different roles in the military than they have in the past?