SPC Lori A. Piestewa

SPC Lori A. Piestewa 1

SPC. LORI A. PIESTEWA - U.S. Army

Hometown / City: TUBA CITY, AZ COCONINO
Date of Death: Sunday, March 23, 2003
Conflict: Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq)
Branch: U.S. Army
Rank: SPC
Unit: 507TH ORD MAINT COMPANY, 5TH BN, 52ND ADA, 11TH ADA BDE, 32ND AAMDC, FORT BLISS, TX 79916

Birth: Dec. 14, 1981
Death: Mar. 23, 2003

Military Figure. Lori Ann Piestewa was a Native American Hopi Indian from Tuba City, Arizona. Her Hopi name was Kocha-Hon-Mana, or White Bear Girl. She was A 22 year old divorced single parent of two small children. Brandon, a 4 year old boy and Carla, a 3 year old girl. There isn't many job options on the reservation where the unemployment rate runs at least 20%. Lori was living with her parents. She hated taking things for free, even from her family. She saw the Army as a way to support her two children & to help achieve her dreams of going to college. Lori joined the Army Oct 2001. The children were left in the care of her parents. When her unit was deployed to Iraq Lori wasn't supposed to go with them. She had severely injured her shoulder in a training exercise and was recovering from surgery. Lori was very strong willed, had a strong sense of duty, and wanted to do what she thought was right. She went to her supervisors and convinced them that her shoulder had healed. She was cleared and deployed with her unit. The main convoy of the 507th Army Maintenance Company, with the lighter faster moving vehicles, had left 2 hours before. The Supply Company was now at 1/2 strength, deep in hostile territory, and without the protection of the forward battalion. At one point, Lynch's truck that was hauling a trailer full of water broke down, and it was then that she got into the Humvee that Piestewa was driving. The unit had taken a wrong turn in the dessert stumbling into Nasiriyah by mistake. Without warning they quickly found themselves surrounded & a easy target. Piestewa's Humvee was going at least 45 mph and weaving to escape gunfire. She had just turned to go around a disabled trailer when a RPG hit her left-front wheel well causing the Humvee to crash into the disabled trailer. Piestewa and Lynch were then captured and placed in a hospital in Nasiriyah. United States Special Forces later rescued Lynch from the hospital, but Piestewa was not found. It was then that she was declared Missing In Action. The Special forces later discovered a mass shallow grave behind the hospital. One of the bodies that was later positively identified was Lori Piestewa. She had apparently survived the crash, but died at the hospital a short time later. It is unclear when, how, or why she died. Lori Piestewa was the first American woman to be killed in the Iraq war. She is also believed to be the first Native American woman to be killed in combat. Her home town renamed a local mountain peak after her.

Burial:
Hopi Indian Cemetery
Tuba City
Coconino County
Arizona, USA

SPC Lori A. Piestewa 2
SPC Lori A. Piestewa 3