Lessons from a Silver Star Recipient: Monica Lin Brown

By Cynthia Cline

Back in the ages, when people actually read paper newspapers, I came across a story of a female Army medic, Monica Lin Brown, who saved the lives of two critically injured soldiers. At the time, I had considered joining the military but didn’t think too much about it. My father served before I was born, and the possibility of serving popped into my head. But it was always a distant dream, nothing I considered a possibility. 

copy of the article Cynthia Cline read that inspired her service

copy of the article Cynthia Cline read that inspired her service

I read the article numerous times, inspired by the courageous actions of a girl not too much older than I. A girl, a woman actually, serving in combat and saving lives. If she could do it, then maybe I could do it too?

I cut out the article and placed it in a box. I wanted to remember her. The Army medic taught me that girls were fully capable of serving in combat and saving lives. 

Monica lin brown

image from wikimedia commons

PFC Monica Lin Brown

The female soldier was Army PFC. Monica Lin Brown and in April of 2007, at 18 years old, PFC Brown deployed to Afghanistan as an Army Medic.  She was on a combat patrol when the trail vehicle struck a pressure plate IED, igniting the fuel tank and fuel cans. After the explosion, the convoy was ambushed, taking on small arms fire. 

Even though women were prohibited from serving in combat, PFC Brown was exposed to the small arms fire as she evaluated the casualties. Eventually, the enemy fighters began using mortars, coming as close as 75 meters away from where PFC Brown was working. 

She selflessly used her own body to protect the casualties and continued treatment despite the mortar attacks. At one point, she shielded their bodies from large chunks of shrapnel and 5.56-mm. rounds.

Brown said, “Somewhere in the mix, we started taking mortar rounds. It became a huge commotion, but all I could let myself think about were my patients.” (2nd Woman Since WWII Gets Silver Star)

According to the patrol leader, it was incredible that PFC Brown was still alive and treating the casualties despite the hazardous conditions surrounding her. Her valiant efforts ensured the casualties were stabilized and ready for MEDEVAC.

photo from wikimedia commons

Unfortunately, PFC Brown was pulled from the field a few days later since her presence had attracted too much attention and brought concerns regarding women in combat roles.

PFC Brown was awarded the Silver Star, the United States military’s third-highest medal for valor, for her heroic actions.  Brown was the first woman during the War in Afghanistan and the second woman since World War II to receive the Silver Star.

You can read her full citation here.

photo Wikimedia commons

Lessons from a Silver Star Recipient: 

The story of Monica Lin Brown served as more than an encouraging news article. Her actions taught me three important lessons. While I only highlighted three lessons, I’m sure you can find quite a few more. What lessons can you find?

Age is nothing but a number. 

Monica Lin Brown was 17 years old when she joined the Army. She was young and still relatively new to the military when she was deployed to Afghanistan. Despite her age and experience, she managed to perform beyond what was expected of her. 

It can be easy for us to allow age or inexperience to deter us, but age truly is nothing but a number. With the proper training, attitude, and confidence, we can make a difference. The next time you think you’re too young or too old, remember that you are far more capable than you believe. 


Fear doesn’t have to stop you.

“I did not really have time to be scared,” Brown said. “Running back to the vehicle, I was nervous (since) I did not know how badly the guys were injured. That was scary.” – Female medic earns Silver Star in Afghan war,” NBC News

PFC Brown was thrust into a terrifying situation, but when it was time, she was able to step out and get the job done courageously. She put her life on the line to save the lives of her brothers in arms. Fear can stop you, but it doesn’t have to. PFC Brown didn’t allow her fear to stop her. Courage is being afraid but doing it anyway. 

We are always an example.

When Monica Lin Brown deployed, she probably didn’t expect to have the impact that she did. Then, after saving the lives of her comrades, she probably didn’t expect the national attention she received. Through the attention she received from her heroic actions, a young impressional teenage girl was encouraged to join the service. 

We are always an example to other girls, both young and old. We never set out to inspire others, yet we are inspiring little girls everywhere by choosing to go first to serve our nation. 

You don’t have to be an Army medic or an Air Force pilot to inspire a generation. By showing up, wearing the uniform proudly, and taking care of the mission, we encourage our future sisters in arms.

About the Author

Cynthia ClineCynthia Cline is a veteran of the U.S. Military, a Military Spouse, and a momma to two. She has a passion for books, coffee, and Jesus, and a desire to share her story to encourage women.  You can read more from her on her blog, A Faithful Step, where she encourages and equips women in the area of Motherhood, Relationships, Military life, and Christian Spirituality. You can also connect with Cynthia on Facebook or Instagram.

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