Hester is one of the few women to be awarded for valor in close-quarters combat. When she and her squad came under fire by enemy combatants while stationed in Iraq, Hester helped repel more than two dozen Iraqi insurgents.
Amazingly, Hester walked directly into the line of fire to kill at least three enemy combatants at close range.
Because of her swift heroism, Hester saved the lives of numerous convoy members. Her actions led her to become the first woman since World War II to earn the Silver Star Medal, the third highest award exclusively for valor in combat.

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