Silver Star

Something else quietly being changed by the nature of the engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan is the role of women in the military:

Army Spc. Monica Lin Brown saved the lives of fellow soldiers after a roadside bomb tore through a convoy of Humvees in the eastern Paktia province in April 2007, the military said.

After the explosion, which wounded five soldiers in her unit, Brown ran through insurgent gunfire and used her body to shield wounded comrades as mortars fell less than 100 yards away, the military said. . .

Pentagon policy prohibits women from serving in frontline combat roles — in the infantry, armor or artillery, for example. But the nature of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, with no real front lines, has seen women soldiers take part in close-quarters combat more than previous conflicts.

Spc. Brown was awarded the Silver Star, the nation’s third highest medal for valor, for her courage in the line of fire. She was the first woman awarded the medal since WWII. Something tells me it won’t take another sixty years for the next one.

Update: It’s funny how, very often just after posting something, I run across a related item. In this case it’s this January monograph (.pdf) from the Army War College titled “Women in Combat Compendium.” It’s a bit long to get through tonight (83 pages), but if I find anything interesting, I’ll post about it tomorrow.