Veteran of the Day graphic by Tenzin Chomphel.
Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Leigh Ann Hester. Leigh served from 2001 to 2017.
Leigh was born in January 1982 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. She enlisted in the Kentucky Army National Guard in April 2001 and left for basic training shortly after the September 11 attacks. Immediately after basic training, she was sent to the Army Military Police School at Fort Leonard Wood, and upon graduation, she went back home. In July 2004, Leigh received deployment orders to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 617th Military Police Company in November 2004.
The company was stationed in Baghdad, and their mission was to protect critical supply routes by clearing the roads of any improvised explosive devices and/or insurgents for approaching convoys. On March 20, 2005, Leigh and her unit were clearing the path for a 30 truck convoy that was ambushed by insurgents. With her team, they were able to pin down the insurgents and cut off the escape route. The fight lasted roughly 25 minutes with about 27 insurgents dead, six wounded and one captured, and Leigh was credited with three kills.
Upon redeployment, she continued to serve in the Kentucky National Guard and became a police officer at the Franklin Police Department in Tennessee in August 2006. She left the service in 2009 to focus on her career. However, in 2010, Leigh joined the Tennessee National Guard while subsequently working as a civilian police officer. She also served as an instructor at the 117th Regional Training Institute Military Police School from 2012 to 2014; then, she was chosen to deploy to Afghanistan in 2014 for 18 months as a Cultural Support Team member. She also deployed to Saint Croix in response to Hurricane Maria in 2017.
For her service, Leigh was awarded the Silver Star, Combat Action Badge, Army Commendation Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal and various others.
Thank you for your service, Leigh!
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Graphic designer: Tenzin Chomphel
Fact checker: Kat Blanchard
Editor: Taryn Gehman