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Lori Piestewa - A Fallen Hero

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  • Lori Piestewa - A Fallen Hero

    The eight soldiers identified Saturday were with Pfc. Jessica Lynch when their convoy was ambushed near Nasiriyah on March 23. Seven were members of Lynch's unit, the 507th Maintenance Company. Two other members of the unit had been listed as killed in action, and five are listed as prisoners of war.

    Those five, who appeared on Iraqi television being questioned by their captors, were not among the bodies found during Lynch's rescue.

    The dead included the first American woman soldier killed in the Iraq war, Pfc. Lori Ann Piestewa, 23, of Tuba City, Ariz. Piestewa, a Hopi who was one of the few American Indian women in the military, was the mother of a 4-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl.

    The U.S. commandos who freed Lynch from a hospital in Nasiriyah this week also found 11 bodies, nine of which were believed to be those of Americans. The nine bodies were returned to a forensics center at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for identification and investigation of how they died.

    The Pentagon issued a statement early Saturday morning saying the status of the eight soldiers had been changed from missing to killed.

    Besides Piestewa the other dead were identified as:

    _Sgt. George E. Buggs, 31, of Barnwell, S.C.

    _Master Sgt. Robert J. Dowdy, 38, of Cleveland.

    _Pvt. Ruben Estrella-Soto, 18, of El Paso, Texas.

    _Spc. James M. Kiehl, 22, of Comfort, Texas.

    _Chief Warrant Officer Johnny Villareal Mata, 35, of Amarillo, Texas.

    _Pvt. Brandon U. Sloan, 19, of Cleveland.

    _Sgt. Donald R. Walters, 33, of Kansas City, Mo.

    All but Buggs were members of the 507th Maintenance, an army unit based at Fort Bliss, Texas. Buggs was a member of the 3rd Division Support Battalion of Fort Stewart, Ga., another Army unit that was in the same convoy.

    The ninth body taken to Dover had not been identified.

    Five members of the unit remain listed as prisoners of war. Shortly after the unit's ambush, the five were shown on Iraqi state-run television being questioned by their captors.

    If I was told I had one hour to live, I'd spend it choking a whiteman~Miles Davis-jazz musician

  • #2
    Dancing for Lori

    Wherever we dance this weekend, we dance for Lori Ann and her great sacrifice.

    All my relations.....


    • #3
      Defense Department confirms death of Tuba City GI in Iraq

      The El Paso Times

      Pfc. Lori Piestewa of Tuba City checks her equipment at Ft. Bliss, Texas, before leaving for the Middle East in February.

      Carlos Miller and Mark Shaffer
      The Arizona Republic
      Apr. 5, 2003 12:00 AM

      Pfc. Lori Piestewa, a Tuba City soldier missing in Iraq after enemy soldiers ambushed her unit last month, is dead, the Department of Defense confirmed late Friday.

      Piestewa, 23, a member of the Hopi Tribe, leaves behind two children.

      A woman who identified herself as Piestewa's sister told The Republic late Friday that the family had not been notified.

      The seven other soldiers in her unit who had been listed as missing were also killed in action, the military said.

      The eight bodies were found outside the same hospital from which Pfc. Jessica Lynch was rescued this week.

      A ninth body has yet to be identified.

      The soldiers, seven of them from the 507th Maintenance Company of Fort Bliss, Texas, an Army mechanics group, were trying to catch a huge convoy moving toward Baghdad on March 23. They fell behind because they had to repair several stalled vehicles.

      Piestewa had enlisted in the Army shortly after graduating from Tuba City High five years ago, where she had been a leader of the school's Junior ROTC program. She also had been a member of the school's softball team.

      Piestewa, who was divorced, is survived by a 4-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter.

      Find this article at:
      Everything is gonna be alright!

      Be blessed - got love???

      This b me.....


      • #4
        Death of Tuba City soldier-mom rocks Hopi tribe

        Carlos Miller and Mark Shaffer
        The Arizona Republic
        Apr. 4, 2003 11:20 PM

        U.S. Army Pfc. Lori Piestewa, the Tuba City soldier who had gone missing in Iraq after enemy soldiers ambushed her unit last month, is dead, the Department of Defense said late Friday night. "This tragedy has rocked the very foundation of the Hopi reservation," Wayne Taylor Jr., chairman of the Hopi tribe said in a statement shortly after midnight.

        Piestewa, 23, an enrolled member of the Hopi tribe, leaves behind two children. Her family declined comment late Friday night.

        The seven other soldiers in her unit that had been listed as missing were also killed in action, the Department of Defense said.

        Taylor said many Hopis have been continually praying for Piestwa's safe return since March 23, the day she was listed as missing in action.

        "We will get through this and we will continue to pray that all of our soldiers, not just Hopi, are safely returned home to their families," Taylor said in the statement.

        He noted in the statement that of the 56 Hopi men and women serving in the United States armed forces, all but eight are in the Persian Gulf region.

        The eight bodies were found in the same hospital from which Pfc. Jessica Lynch was rescued earlier this week. A ninth body has yet to be identified.

        The soldiers, part of the 507th Maintenance Company of Fort Bliss, Texas, an Army mechanics group, were attempting to catch up to a huge convoy of tanks and troops moving to Baghad on March 23.

        They had fallen behind because they had to repair several stalled vehicles. They were ambushed in the town of An Nasiriya.

        Two members of that unit were pronounced dead shortly after the attack, five were taken as prisoners of war and Piestewa and seven others had been listed as missing in action.

        Piestewa had enlisted in the Army shortly after her graduation from Tuba City High School five years ago, where she had been a leader of the school's junior ROTC program. She also had been a member of the school's softball team.

        Piestewa, who was divorced, is survived by a 4-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter.

        Lori's father fought in Vietnam and her grandfather was a World War II veteran.

        The youngest of four children, she joined the Army about 2 1/2 years ago and did supply work. The family received an e-mail from Lori saying she was about to enter Iraq and it "felt good that she was not sitting around and waiting any more."

        The 507th provides repairs and support for the 5th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, which is comprised of five Patriot missile batteries. In the Middle East, the unit is attached to 3rd Infantry Division.

        Piestewa's family, who had been praying that she would turn up alive like rescued Pfc. Jessica Lynch, had no comment late Friday and had apparently learned of her death from reporters.

        Find this article at:
        Everything is gonna be alright!

        Be blessed - got love???

        This b me.....


        • #5
          That sucks:(
          I have a friend in AZ from Tuba who went to school with her.
          That just sucks.


          • #6
            Tuba City honors its hero

            Mark Shaffer and Billy House
            The Arizona Republic
            Apr. 6, 2003 12:00 AM

            TUBA CITY - Army Pfc. Lori Piestewa is believed to occupy a special place in the nation's military annals, the first Native American woman in the military to die as a result of combat.

            But that wasn't even a footnote to her friends and family as an outpouring of grief overwhelmed this Navajo Nation town Saturday morning.

            Word had been spreading since shortly after midnight that the 23-year-old former Tuba City High School softball star and junior ROTC commander finally had been identified as one of those killed in southern Iraq when her mechanics unit was ambushed by Iraqi soldiers on March 23.

            Vehicles of hundreds of tearful, food-toting family and friends swirled around the Piestewa family's mobile home, requiring police to block the jammed road shortly before noon. Large American flags flew at half-staff at the local police station. And the local McDonald's.

            The radio at Kate's Cafe blared the latest details regarding Piestewa as a large breakfast crowd suddenly hushed. Workers at the local Bashas' supermarket hurriedly set up a memorial to the fallen soldier near the front door. They set up a donation jar with Piestewa's picture on it and provided poster board as dozens of people stopped and wrote their mournful thoughts.

            Outside of town, near U.S. 160, friends had arranged hundreds of large, decorative white stones near the top of a 200-foot-high mesa to spell out "LORI."

            But it was a group of red, white and blue balloons at the impromptu supermarket memorial that brought tears to the eyes of longtime Piestewa friend Reva Hoover of Tuba City.

            Hoover had spotted a small green balloon with the Tuba City High School warrior mascot emblazed on it.

            "Lori was a mascot when she was in junior high, and I'll never forget her running around the gym in that little Warrior uniform," Hoover said, her voice cracking with emotion.

            Meanwhile, in the nation's capital, plans began Saturday to honor Piestewa as the first Native American woman known to have lost her life in the U.S. military as a result of combat.

            Already, Piestewa is to be featured in a special exhibit tentatively set to open May 24 at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, located at the ceremonial entrance of Arlington National Cemetery, and later at Memorial Day ceremonies there. One of those Memorial Day activities will be the placing of rose petals in the memorial's reflecting pool to honor Piestewa.

            "To the best of our knowledge, she is the first Native American woman in U.S. military service killed as a result of combat," said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Wilma L. Vaught. She is president of the foundation that raised funds to build the women's military memorial at Arlington and operates its education center.

            Vaught's said her group of 200,000 registered members had already planned a special exhibit next month to honor Native American women serving in the military. "But now this has happened, she will be a significant feature of the exhibit," Vaught said.

            Pentagon officials said Saturday they will study to determine if Piestewa was the first Native American woman killed in combat for the United States. But the history of women serving in defense of our nation began more than 220 years ago with the American Revolution, and records from the 1800s are spotty, they said. The Pentagon said it planned to do its research with the help of military history experts and historical records.

            Vaught said that about 50 women are known to have been killed in the line of duty while service in the U.S. military, but none of those was Native American.

            Officials at the Pentagon and other government sources said Saturday that the military is continuing to investigate whether Piestewa was killed immediately in the ambush or whether she was wounded and died later.

            Piestewa's body, and the remains of eight other U.S. soldiers recovered from a hospital in southern Iraq, remained Saturday night at Delaware's Dover Air Force Base, U.S. defense officials said. How soon Piestewa's body will be moved to Arizona has not been determined, as military officials continue their investigation into her and the others' deaths, said Army Lt. Col. Rivers Johnson, a Pentagon spokesman.

            The nine bodies were among 11 recovered when U.S. Special Operations forces stormed a hospital in Nassiriya to rescue Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch last week after her and Piestewa's maintenance convoy was ambushed by Iraqi forces.

            Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., a member of the House Armed Services Committee whose district includes the Hopi Reservation, said Saturday that he expects to be provided more details in briefings as early as Monday.

            But for now, Franks said his thoughts are with the family of Piestewa, a single mother who is survived by a son, 4, and a daughter, 3.

            "I think the American flag flies at half-staff in the hearts of all of us right now," Franks said. "She was someone who loved her children and still gave her life on behalf of them in the cause of freedom."

            Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., whose district includes Tuba City, said in a statement that "Lori Piestewa will remain a hero in the hearts and minds of all Arizonans for the ultimate sacrifice that she has made in the liberation of the Iraqi people."

            Hero was also a word that Lori's brother, Wayland Piestewa, used in describing his sister during a brief statement to reporters gathered outside the family home Saturday morning.

            Pictures of Lori covered the chain-link fence. In one, a picture of Lori in her fatigues packing up her supplies to leave Fort Bliss, Texas, in February was superimposed over the Manhattan skyline, the World Trade Center conspicuously present.

            Behind the fence, Navajo friends hugged members of the Piestewa family, members of the Hopi Tribe, as an American flag and a streamer honoring POWs and MIAs was hoisted on the front porch above a huge military portrait of Lori.

            "We're very proud of Lori . . . she's our hero," Wayland Piestewa said, asking everyone to continue praying for all U.S. troops abroad.

            He also said, "Our family is hanging in there. They are a bunch of troops themselves."

            Then he encouraged the media throng to leave.

            "We're trying not to draw too much attention to her as she makes her journey" to the afterlife, Piestewa said.

            But she will be long remembered, said family friend Carmelita Maloney of Tuba City. Maloney said that Lori, just like the rest of her family, had been very active in community causes like "Stars in the Desert," a local organization that pairs Native American role models with Tuba City-area children.

            "I just cried until 3 in the morning after I heard about this," Maloney said.

            She noted the traditional hostility between the Navajo and Hopi tribes over land issues.

            "Lori has been the catalyst to bring us together," Maloney said.
            If I was told I had one hour to live, I'd spend it choking a whiteman~Miles Davis-jazz musician


            • #7
              I'm praying for her family and the rest that are over in the Middle East. She was a strong strong lady. May God bless her and her family as she is remembered for a her strength and courage.
              ushoo' udish dee'


              • #8
                Me and my families thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time.

                Never forget our fallen warriors!!!
                Men and WOMEN!!!
                Before you attempt to beat the odds, make sure you can survive the odds beating you!

                Why do some people bother breathing when you know their brain isn't getting the oxygen?


                • #9
                  A very sad day......

                  My family's prayers and thoughts are with her family. Its been a very bad day recieving this news because not only does her family and tribe suffer, all of indian country knows we've lost one of our own.

                  But still we pray for the others to come home safely and quickly. And still we pray for Lori as she is on a new journey back home with the ones who have gone before us.

                  Be good to one another, take care of each other, love one another.
                  ..::First ever 2002-2003 Princess::..
                  ~*~*~* The original POWWOWCHIC49 *~*~*~
                  *~*JINGLE IT*~*


                  • #10
                    Statement from Percy Piestewa, mother of Lori Piestewa

                    In a rare interview, Percy Piestewa released a brief statement Sunday evening responding to the outpouring of sympathy from the nation and world:

                    "Thank you for all your support. It has made us so strong. People from all over the world, from all over the nation, from people who feel as if Lori were their own daughter.

                    "We ask people that they hug their little ones, tell them how much they mean to them -- all the naliis (paternal grandmothers), all the kids."

                    Mrs. Piestewa said that Lori's deeply held religious beliefs likely helped sustain the soldier in her final hours and that "God took her so that she no longer would be suffering."

                    "Tell people how awesome they are and thank them for all their support. The support has made our family strong."

                    Where to send flowers, cards and letters for the family of Lori Piestewa

                    For cards and letters:

                    Percy Piestewa
                    P.O. Box 957
                    Tuba City, AZ 86045

                    For flowers and other items:

                    In care of the Piestewa Family
                    Juniper Drive, No. 67
                    Tuba City, AZ 86045

                    Items can be sent via United Parcel Service or FedEx.
                    If I was told I had one hour to live, I'd spend it choking a whiteman~Miles Davis-jazz musician


                    • #11
                      Hopi Soldier's Spiritual Return Home
                      Indians Sense War Victim's Presence in an Unseasonable Snowfall

                      By T.R. Reid
                      Washington Post Staff Writer
                      Monday, April 7, 2003; Page A19

                      TUBA CITY, Ariz., April 6 -- It shouldn't snow in April here on the sun-washed mesas of Arizona's Painted Desert. But when an unseasonable blizzard swept across Coconino County this weekend, the Hopi Indians here knew why it happened: Lori Piestewa was coming home.

                      The body of Pfc. Piestewa, 23, the mother of two who was the first U.S. female soldier killed in the Iraq war, is still lying a continent away, at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. But to her fellow Hopi in her home town, the snowfall represented Piestewa's spiritual return.

                      "When a Hopi is deceased, she comes back to the home mesas," said Wayne Taylor, the tribal chairman, as snowflakes coated his shoulders Saturday afternoon. "The spirit returns to the community and the family in the form of moisture. And this is Lori coming back."

                      There is a rich variety of tribal and religious traditions in this ranching town of 8,200 east of the Grand Canyon, where Navajo, Hopi, Hispanics and Anglos all live together, although not always on friendly terms.

                      Through generations of intermarriage, the Piestewa family represents several of those cultures. The late soldier was a Hopi with Navajo blood, the granddaughter of a Hispanic immigrant and a practicing Roman Catholic. Her 4-year-old son and her 3-year-old daughter were baptized at St. Jude's Roman Catholic Church.

                      With the news of Piestewa's death, all the traditions here began preparing in their own ways to commemorate her life and mark her death in combat.

                      Life is hard in Tuba City, a town of mobile homes and small wooden cottages lining a rutted collection of red-sand country roads. About one-third of the population is unemployed, and businesses are struggling. Accordingly, many people here say they didn't pay much attention when the United States went to war last month.

                      "I barely listened to the news about it," said Raymond Zepeda over his breakfast -- a bean-and-cheese "Navajo Taco" -- at the Tuba City Truck Stop.

                      "But since Lori went missing, I've watched every minute. Those guys in Iraq have got me mad now."

                      Piestewa's 507th Army Maintenance Company was ambushed March 23 near Nasiriyah, and she was one of 11 soldiers listed as "missing in action." For the next two weeks, her parents, Terry and Percy Piestewa, led nightly prayer vigils asking for the soldiers' safe return. But late Friday, a telephone call from the Pentagon informed the family that Lori Piestewa and seven other members of her company were dead.

                      At Mass this morning at St. Jude's, the Rev. Godden Menard tried to answer those parishioners who wondered why their prayers for Piestewa were not answered.

                      "I suppose some of us feel angry at God for not answering us in the way we asked of him," the priest said quietly, standing before a tall cross of rough-hewn timber in the simple church. "But God answered us in his way. God wanted her to come home. We ask Him to reward Lori for the sacrifice of the life she gave for her country."

                      Members of the late soldier's family said they would hold a Hopi "celebration of life" in her memory, after her remains are sent home to Arizona. But relatives said they have had no word about when this might happen. The Pentagon said it is still investigating the cause of death of the deceased soldiers and that may delay the return of Piestewa's body.

                      All over Tuba City, collection buckets are taking contributions for a fund to assist Piestewa's young children, who are living with the late soldier's parents. The Hopi and Navajo tribes and radio station KFYI in Phoenix are also planning trust funds for the orphans.

                      "It hurts for a very small community to lose somebody we all knew," said Denisse Goetcher, 22, who was a year behind Lori Piestewa at Tuba City High School.

                      "She was always interested in military stuff. She knew what she wanted in life. And when she went off to Iraq, I thought, 'Yeah, she was always going to do that.' But now, Lori is -- is dead. And when you realize that, then you say, sort of for the first time, 'Wow, we're really in a war, aren't we?' "

                      © 2003 The Washington Post Company
                      If I was told I had one hour to live, I'd spend it choking a whiteman~Miles Davis-jazz musician


                      • #12
                        There has been a MEMORIAL FUND set up for the children of Lori Piestewa.

                        It is the LORI PIESTEWA MEMRONIAL FUND, at the Wells Fargo Bank. The Account Number is # 0464633783.

                        If you have any questions, please contact Dee Wilson at 1-928-380-4647 or to Dolly Lane at 1-928-283-3012.

                        "REMEMBERING OUR FALLEN WARRIOR"
                        If I was told I had one hour to live, I'd spend it choking a whiteman~Miles Davis-jazz musician


                        • #13
                          Her and the families loss is felt in each and every one of us. Prayers are with the family.


                          • #14
                            The family was in Flagstaff this weekend at the NAU pow-wow, during the gourd dance then they had an honor song for her, I swear everybody at that field house waited in line to shake her family's hand, it was just TOO SAD. We all feel so bad for her family, especially her little ones.


                            • #15

                              This stuff just breaks my heart. My family's prayers are sent out to her family. We hope other native's return home safely and Lori will never be forgotten!!!!!!!!!


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