MARCH 23, 2003


Born December 14, 1979, in Tuba City, Arizona, Lori’s Hopi name meant “White Bear Girl.”  Like her grandfather (World War II) and her father (Vietnam War), Lori pursued a military career.  At the outset of the Iraq War, her convoy was ambushed near Nasiriyah.  Lori’s Humvee was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. Three members were killed.  Lori, suffered severe head wounds and was taken prisoner.  She died at an Iraqi civilian hospital.  Lori became the first woman killed in the Iraq War, and the first American Indian woman to die in combat in the U.S. armed forces.  After her death, PFC Piestewa, was awarded the Purple Heart, the Prisoner of War Medal, and posthumously promoted from the rank of Private First Class to the rank of Specialist.  A grassroots movement led the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to change Arizona’s “Squaw Peak” to “Piestewa Peak” on April 10, 2008.  In October 2018, she posthumously became one of the first class of inductees into the National Native American Hall of Fame.

Source:  Patti Jo King, “Remembering Lori Ann Piestewa:  Hope Woman Warrior,” Indian Country Today, 4/13/2011.  Retireved 6/25/2019,
Photo:  U.S. Army, 2/18/2003.  Public Domain.  Photograph taken by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.

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