The Houston Chronicle
Army Spc. Monica Lin Brown is only the second woman since World War II to receive the medal, one of the nation’s highest military awards given for gallantry in combat.
”She just did what she was trained to do,” her 74-year-old grandmother, Katy Brown, said from her Lake Jackson home on Sunday.
Monica Brown, a medic, was part of a four-vehicle convoy patrolling near Jani Kheil in the eastern province of Paktia when a bomb struck one of the Humvees on April 25, military officials said.
After the explosion, she braved insurgent gunfire and mortars to reach five wounded soldiers. She shielded them as she administered aid and helped drag them to safety, the military said.
“I did not really think about anything except for getting the guys to a safer location and getting them taken care of and getting them out of there,” Monica Brown told The Associated Press on Saturday from a U.S. base in the province of Khowst.
Katy Brown said her granddaughter graduated from Brazos River Charter School in Morgan at 15. She joined the Army with her brother, Justin Brown, in November 2006 to get a college education, Katy Brown said.
She said she is not surprised by her granddaughter’s heroics.
”She’s just a strong, strong young woman, and she’s very caring,” Katy Brown said.
Monica Brown told her grandmother she didn’t have time to be scared.
She just jumped into action and ”made medics out of those infantry men,” Katy Brown said.
Monica Brown, of the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, said ammunition going off inside the burning Humvee was sending shrapnel in all directions. She said they were sitting in a dangerous spot.
“So, we dragged them for 100 or 200 meters, got them away from the Humvee a little bit,” she said. “I was in a kind of a robot-mode, did not think about much but getting the guys taken care of.”
Monica Brown knew all five wounded soldiers. She said they eventually moved the wounded about 500 yards away and treated them on site before putting them on a helicopter for evacuation.
She is expected to leave Afghanistan on April 15, but Katy Brown didn’t know when her granddaughter would arrive home or where she would receive the medal.
Mary Moreno, founder of Military Moms in Lake Jackson, said Monica Brown deserves the medal because she is a giving person.
”When she came home last April, she was an inspiration to all of us,” Moreno said. “She became one of us and said, ‘What can I do?’ ”
Monica Brown helped the group pack care packages for soldiers, Moreno said. She also helped them tie yellow ribbons on trees along Oyster Creek Drive in Lake Jackson in honor of the soldiers, she said.
”She is just an amazing young woman who is very down to earth and full of life,” Moreno said.
The military said Brown’s “bravery, unselfish actions and medical aid rendered under fire saved the lives of her comrades and represents the finest traditions of heroism in combat.”
Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, of Nashville, Tenn., received the Silver Star in 2005 for gallantry during an insurgent ambush on a convoy in Iraq. Two men from Hester’s unit, the 617th Military Police Company of Richmond, Ky., also received the Silver Star for their roles in the same action.