Private Monica Brown is the second woman to be awarded the Silver Star since World War II — and she was just 18 years old (and had only 4 months of medical training) when she risked her own life to save two injured colleagues in Afghanistan after they were ambushed. Are those colleagues grateful? Not really. In fact, one of them thinks she didn't belong there in the first place.
Women are not technically allowed in forward combat units — but, with little official in the way of front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq and women filling more non-combat roles (like medics) where they find themselves assigned to front-line units in need of their skills, the technicalities mean less and less. More than 100 American women have died in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, with more than that injured or seeing combat. Brown's actions — as a woman barely out of high school with less than a year of training and no combat experience — were judged exceptional by her commanders.
But not so by her peers. The two men whose lives they saved refused to appear in a 60 Minutes piece (embedded below) about her, with one of them saying that she didn't belong on the front lines. Even the men who support her serving with their unit and acknowledged her actions said they think she might have gotten the award because of her age and gender, since she was "just doing her job."
How Pvt. Monica Brown Won A Silver Star [CBS News]
Earlier: Casualties of War