SPC Lori Ann Piestewa

Lori Ann was the first woman in the United States armed forces to be killed in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. As a member of the Hopi Tribe she is also the first Native American woman in history to die in combat while serving in the United States military. Lori Ann was received the Purple Heart, the Prisoner of War Medal and was posthumously promoted in rank from Private to Specialist.

A resident of Tuba City, Arizona, she descended from a proud family military tradition. Her grandfather served in WW II and her father served in Vietnam. Lori Ann was a part of the U.S. Army’s 507th Maintenance Company. She was in a convoy in Southern Iraq when her convoy got lost and was ambushed in Nasiriyah on March 23, 2003. Her humvee was hit by explosives and became inoperable. Further, her M16 rifle jammed and she was unable to fire. Lori Ann was eventually taken prisoner with two other soldiers. She succumbed to head injuries in an Iraqi hospital.

Lori Ann’s memory has been honored by having Arizona’s Squaw Peak renamed Piestewa Peak. The Hopi and Navajo tribes, which have been centuries-old rivals, shared a joint gathering of prayer in her memory and honor. Lori Ann was the mother of two young children when she was killed.