A group of American women have become the first women to be awarded the Medal of Honor for their role in the fight against ISIS, which was announced today.
The U.S. Army awarded the Women’s Action and Liberation Service Medal (WALLS) to the women, who worked in and around the battlefields of Iraq and Syria.
The medal is awarded to those who have contributed to the defeat of terrorist organizations and other adversaries of the United States and its allies.
The WALLS medal is the highest honor given to a member of the armed forces.
The award is given annually to a woman who is recognized for her service and sacrifice during her or his lifetime.
It is the third highest honor in the U. S. military, behind the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
Women in the armed services are awarded medals on the basis of their valor in combat.
“This medal is a tribute to our women soldiers, our heroes who gave their lives for their country, and to all the women who risked their lives to keep our freedom alive,” said Army Brig. Gen. Denise LePage, the military’s first female commanding general.
“Our brave women soldiers are the heroes who we must continue to honor, and their service is the pride of our country.”
The WALS program, which began in 2010, awards the medal to women who are credited with their contributions to national security.
In addition to the Women in Action and Liberty Service Medal, the Army also awarded the WALS Ribbon for Courage and Valor to the WALKS program’s first recipient, Brig. Col. Kristina L. Smith, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, an independent think tank in Washington, D. C. She has received the medal multiple times, including in 2014 for her bravery during the ISIS assault on Kobani, a Kurdish town in northern Syria.
Smith received the award in recognition of her efforts to defeat ISIS, including providing air support to Kurdish forces during the siege of Kobani and her efforts at the border, which included securing the border and providing humanitarian aid.
“I was honored to receive this medal, and I’m glad it was awarded,” Smith said.
“It is an honor to receive it.
It’s a medal of honor.
I’m just grateful for the opportunity it’s given me.”
WALS recipients have the opportunity to receive the medal on their graduation day, and the award is presented to the recipient at the commencement ceremony.
The Medal of Freedom is awarded by the president of the Senate, and is given for extraordinary acts of valor.
In a statement issued after the medal ceremony, Smith said she would use her new honor to continue working toward ending ISIS’s brutal attacks against civilians.
“My service to the United Nations has been instrumental in saving the lives of thousands of Yazidis and other vulnerable populations,” Smith wrote.
“With this medal I will continue to fight for the dignity of women, the rights of girls and women, and for the rights and freedoms of all.”
The award ceremony will take place Friday at a ceremony in New York City, where the medal is on display.
“Today’s award recognizes our brave women for their brave acts of bravery in Iraq and the brave actions they took to help protect civilians,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who is also a member at the ceremony.
“Their courage and bravery helped save the lives and the freedom of millions of people, and they deserve this medal and this recognition for their service and for their bravery.” _____