Rumbling over bone jarring ruts in a Humvee, cats from 617th Military Police Company were riding shotgun for a supply convoy when it started raining RPGs.
The squad moved to the side of the road, flanking the insurgents and cutting off their escape route. One team raced through the "kill zone" and into a flanking position, where they assaulted a trench line with grenades and M203 grenade-launcher rounds.
2 troops cleared two trenches chock full of insurgents
When the fight was over, 27 insurgents were dead -- literally shot to pieces or blown apart by grenades, six were wounded, and one was captured.
And it was a girl who led the attack.
Sgt Leigh Ann Hester earned the Silver Star that day -- the first time for a girl since World War II.
When Great Satan cooed up to the military co ed idea eons ago - policy demanded that girls could not serve in frontline combat arms like infantry, armor, Special Forces and most field artillery units.
"Before 2001, America’s military women had rarely seen ground combat. Their jobs kept them mostly away from enemy lines, as military policy dictates.
"The Afghanistan and Iraq wars, often fought in marketplaces and alleyways, have changed that. In both countries, women have repeatedly proved their mettle in combat. The number of high-ranking women and women who command all-male units has climbed considerably along with their status in the military.
"Nonetheless, as soldiers in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, women have done nearly as much in battle as their male counterparts: patrolled streets with machine guns, served as gunners on vehicles, disposed of explosives, and driven trucks down bomb-ridden roads.
"They have proved indispensable in their ability to interact with and search Iraqi and Afghan women for weapons, a job men cannot do for cultural reasons. The Marine Corps has created revolving units — “lionesses” — dedicated to just this task.
"No one envisioned that Afghanistan and Iraq would elevate the status of women in the armed forces.
"But the Iraq insurgency obliterated conventional battle lines. The fight was on every base and street corner, and as the conflict grew longer and more complicated, the all-volunteer military required more soldiers and a different approach to fighting.
"Commanders were forced to stretch gender boundaries, or in a few cases, erase them altogether
Lt. Col. Michael A. Baumann reveals in "Adjust Fire" that necessity really is the mommie of inventive tactical designs and operational methodology:
“We had to take everybody. Nobody could be spared to do something like support.”
The reality of war has far surpassed old school policies. Like Col Baumann says -
"Debate it all you want folks, but the military is going to do what the military needs to do. And they are needing to put women in combat.”
In AFPAKland, Marines are deploying grrl power
During a mission, girl Teuffel Hunden donned brightly colored head and neck scarves as a sign of cultural respect to the Afghan women.
“The scarves showed the Afghan women that we were women too, and we respect their culture,” Lt. Johanna Shaffer said. “They automatically felt more comfortable with us. They showed us their homes, and even though they didn’t have much, they were still very generous to us. They accepted us as sisters, and we’re glad that we were here to help them.”
Although Afghan women tend to be more reserved than Afghan men, they still have a large influence on their children, Shaffer said, so engaging with them is important.
“If the women know we are here to help them, they will likely pass that on to their children. If the children have a positive perspective of alliance forces, they will be less likely to join insurgent groups or participate in insurgent activities.”
Pic - "Sgt Theresa" by Gervasio Sanchez/Associated Press