Sgt. Hester's star turn

Hold your breath. Okay, let it out. That's about how long it will take for Hollywood to offer Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester a movie deal.

On March 20 in Iraq, Sgt. Hester broke some kind of Teflon ceiling for women in the military when, during an enemy ambush of her unit, she fought like a tiger on steroids. Yesterday she was awarded a Silver Star -- making her the first female soldier since W.W.II to win the medal, which is given for valor in combat.

According to the military's account, Sgt. Hester, "maneuvered her team through the kill zone into a flanking position where she assaulted a trench line with grenades and M203 rounds. She then cleared two trenches with her squad leader where she engaged and eliminated three AIF [anti-Iraqi forces] with her M4 rifle. Her actions saved the lives of numerous convoy members."

In civilian language, that means Leigh Ann smoked three bad guys.

Hester, 23, a Kentucky native, modestly downplayed the significance of the feat. "It really doesn't have anything to do with being a female," she said. "It's about the duties I performed that day as a soldier."


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