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SGT. Amanda Pinson

July 27, 2012

This week’s American Hero is United States Army Sgt. Amanda Pinson. She’s not only an American Hero, she’s also the first female soldier to be honored by the National Security Agency (NSA).

Amanda knew of the dangers involved in serving her country when she joined the Army but insisted her efforts and the efforts of others would prevent another attack on the country she loved.

Her mother Ehlen stated:

“She loved being in the Army and she loved doing her job. She felt like her work saved American lives. That’s what she did.”

The Post-Dispatch’s Harry Levins once conducted an interview with Amanda in 2003. He inquired about how difficult it was for recruiters during a time of war. Amanda let Harry know she was completely aware of the challenges and risks she faced and decided to join anyway. Amanda was quoted as saying:

“But I didn’t really think about it,” she said. “I thought, ‘This is what I want to do – and I’m going to do it, no matter what.’ I tell everybody, ‘It just feels right.'”

She said she thought the Army would help her grow.

“I’ve never wanted to do girlie things,” she said. “When I finish college, I want to be an FBI agent. I thought military service would help me excel – help me to become my own person.”

Her goal was, in fact, to become a member of the FBI or the CIA. Amanda’s friends remembered her as someone who was always very focused and goal driven. According to them, “she always knew what she wanted and she always focused on the bigger picture.”

Amanda was assigned to the 101st Military Intelligence Detachment, 501st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Fort Campbell, Ky. Although she was prepared for what could be, sadly she was killed Mar. 16, 2006, by a mortar round in Tikrit, Iraq.

The official memorial for SGT Amanda Pinson on Facebook provides the following information in her bio:

Honored by the NSA on Memorial Day 2006: http://www.nsa.gov/about/cryptologic_heritage/memorial_wall/index.shtml (she was the first female intelligence soldier to ever be honored by the NSA; there are only 166 names on the wall to date: 12/2011) To read Amanda’s biography, written by the NSA, please click here: http://www.nsa.gov/about/_files/memorial_wall/pinson.pdf

The United States Army honored Amanda by dedicating the building where she worked and naming it “Pinson Hall” (Tikrit, Iraq on FOB Speicher): 2006.

The plaque mounted on the wall was given to her mother, Chris Andrews, on December 7th, 2011 after FOB Speicher was shut down.

A pink willow tree was planted, in her honor, at Hancock High School on June 3, 2006. Amanda graduated from Hancock High School in 2002.

A song was written about her called, “Angel in Fatigues” (written by Blackie Starks)
and played, for the first time at a tribute show, in her honor, on May 19, 2006.

SGT Amanda Pinson Memorial Scholarship Information:
To make a donation, please send by form of check or money order to be made to the: Hancock Alumni Association, Amanda Pinson Memorial Scholarship, ATTN: Sue Weber, 2191 Lemay Ferry Rd., St. Louis, MO, 63125. This scholarship will be given out to future graduates of Hancock Place High School. Christine Holmer was the first recipient in 2006.

Obituary:
“If love could have saved you…you would have lived forever.”

B: 07.31.1984 in St. Louis, MO
D: 03.16.2006 in Tikrit, Iraq

Army Sgt. Amanda Pinson, 21, of Lemay, MO assigned to the 101st Military Intelligence Detachment, 501st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; was killed March 16th, 2006 when a mortar round detonated in Tikrit, Iraq. Pinson was a 98C Signals Intelligence Analyst and the first female Signal Intelligence Analyst to ever be killed in combat. The United States Army will be naming their new Cryptology Center, “Pinson Hall”, in her honor.

Pinson graduated from Hancock Place High School in 2002. She was one of the top students in the class, winning several scholarships. She cheered with the pompon squad, played basketball and softball.

At her funeral service, at Hoffmeister Funeral Home on Lemay Ferry Rd., Chris Ehlen (Mother) and Tony Pinson (Father) accepted a Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal and a Purple Heart for their daughter. Visitors filled the chapel and two other rooms to standing-room-only capacity, with closed-circuit television broadcasting the service.

State Rep. Patricia Yaeger, D-Lemay, told Pinson’s family at the service: “The state of Missouri stands with you. We mourn with you.”. During the procession, which included 117 bikers from the Patriot Guard, hundreds of Lemay residents lined the streets from the funeral home to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetary where Sgt. Pinson was laid to rest with full military honors.

Sgt. Pinson was the beloved daughter of Christina Ehlen (now Andrews) and Tony & Regina Pinson; Beloved sister of Bryan Pinson and of the late Michael and Matthew Pinson; Dear grand-daughter of Bufford and Patty Nickles, Jimmy and Victoria Pinson and of the late Marlene Pinson; Dear great-granddaughter of Alma Nickles; Dear niece of Sandy (Rick) Campbell, Debbie (Mark) Ritter, David (Cindy) Nickles, Jeff (Tammy) Nickles, Cheryl Kohler, Joyce (Ken) Blank, James Harris, and Donna (Michael) Thompson;

Dear cousin of Jennifer, Stacy, Shaun, Stephanie, Jake, Seth, Kevin, Kyle, Melissa, Andrew, Amanda, Michael, and Laura; and special friend of Tara, Amy, and COUNTLESS others.

Today, Amanda lies in rest at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, MO. As always, we ask that you remember her for the sacrifice she made for freedom and democracy. Most importantly, we ask that you remember her as an American Hero.

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