Ft. Benning Honors First Native American
FT. BENNING, GA---Ft. Benning honored a fallen soldier this morning by dedicating of the new Directorate of Training Sustainment Headquarters.
Army Specialist Lori Piestewa was seriously injured and captured by enemy forces in 2003.
She was killed in captivity.
Piestewa was not only the first woman killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom, but also the first female Native American to die in combat.
"The Hopi culture is a peace loving culture where they are not to inflict any injuries or harm upon anyone and because she was in the military that could have well happened. But through God's power, or the Creator's power, she didn't inflict any harm on anyone before we lost her," her mother, Percy Piestewa, says.
Her mother says she is an inspiration to other Native Americans.
Piestewa was still recovering from an injury when her unit was deployed, but begged her commanders not to leave her behind.
"When she heard Jessica was going in or the whole unit going in, and she said she was going to be there for Jessica," her father, Terry Piestewa, says.
Jessica Lynch was also captured with Piestewa. She is the first prisoner of war rescued since World War II.
Piestewa's father says they were best friends.
"I always say they come from two different worlds. You know our daughter out there on the reservation and Jessica over here in this beautiful green environment. I don't know how they happened but they sure got along," her father says.
Pietsewa's spirit will remain alive in the new 27,000 square foot building.
"She was a logistical soldier, and at DOT we provide the logistics to Fort Benning, Georgia and the MCOE," DOTS director Scott Fabozzi says.
Piestewa was awarded the Purple Heart and the Prisoner of War Medal.