A headquarters building at Fort Benning, Ga., will be named today in honor of Spc. Lori Piestewa, who died in Iraq after her convoy was attacked in Nasiriyah.
Piestewa, 23, was the first Native American woman in history to die in combat while serving in the U.S. military and the first woman killed in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. A member of the Hopi tribe, she was a native of Tuba City, Ariz.
During a 10 a.m. memorial ceremony in Harmony Church, the Directorate of Training Sustainment Headquarters Building will be renamed Piestewa Hall. The building provides the Maneuver Center of Excellence with support in the training of Soldiers. Items include water, fuel, distribution, transportation support, training equipment, medical support for high-risk Soldier training and other services.
The 27,000 square-foot building will house more than 98 civilians and 70 administrative workers, drivers, medics, fuelers and ammunition Soldiers who support training at the post.
Piestewa was deployed to Iraq with the 507th Maintenance Company from Fort Bliss, Texas, when her convoy got lost and ran into an ambush. A rocket propelled grenade struck the front left wheel of the Humvee she was driving, hurling the vehicle into the rear of a disabled tractor-trailer.
Piestewa and fellow Soldiers Jessica Lynch and Shoshana Johnson survived the crash with injuries but were taken captive. Lynch tried to fire her M16 but the weapon jammed.
Piestewa, who had a head wound, died in an Iraqi hospital.
Lynch has repeatedly said Piestewa was the true hero of the ambush. In her book "I'm a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story," Lynch said Piestewa might have survived the head injury if she were treated in a U.S. military hospital with neurosurgeons available.
Piestewa, a private, was posthumously promoted to specialist and awarded the Purple Heart and Prisoner of War Medal.
In May 2005, Ty Pennington and the crew from ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" built Piestewa's parents and her children a brand new home in addition to a new veterans' center on the Navajo reservation.
The fallen Soldier's parents and children are expected to attend the ceremony, a post official said Tuesday.
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