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PFC Jessica Lynn Nicholson - Someone You Should Know

U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Conrad College

    This is to certify that the Secretary of the Army has awarded the Army Commendation Medal to Private First Class Jessica L. Nicholson, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 40th Engineer Battalion, for valor and courage in the face of enemy actions while assigned to the 40th Engineer Battalion. Her decisive actions at a security checkpoint prevented the enemy from endangering the lives of her fellow soldiers. - Army Commendation Medal (with Valor device) awarded to Private First Class Nicholson

This is one of my favorites. Jim B. sent this to me. Jess's story has been around for about six months(those of you in Germany certainly have heard this one) and it's worth sharing so everyone knows her name - PFC Jessica Nicholson. Oh yeah, she named her machine gun "Camille" - I freakin' LOVE that! In the 82nd, my hog (M60) was called "Bonnie". PFC Nicholson should be headed back to Germany (or in Germany by now)

Training, Instincts and Wrestling Experience Pay Off for 1st Armored Division Soldier

When quick action is required in an emergency situation, a soldier often doesn’t have time to think. The soldier’s training and instincts take over.

Pfc. Jessica Lynn Nicholson, 21, a 1st Armored Division soldier with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 40th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade, Division Engineers, found out how true that adage is recently when she was working at a security checkpoint in Baghdad. The reason she, a tracked-vehicle mechanic, was assigned to the checkpoint was to search women.

“But, that day (about 9 a.m. on June 7) there were a lot of people gathering at this checkpoint and it was very busy. So, I was asked to search some men, too,” said Nicholson.

“While other soldiers were searching a car, the driver had stepped out of the car and I was searching the driver. He didn’t have any weapons on his person,” she said.

“The other soldiers checking the vehicle at first thought it was clear. Then one of the soldiers thought that something didn’t seem right. So, he searched the car again,” she added.

During the second search, the soldier spotted a grenade hidden behind the visor on the driver’s side. The soldier shouted, “Grenade!”

“I immediately got man down on the ground, face down, and I remember pressing his face into a sandbag,” Nicholson said.

She continued to hold him down until other soldiers came over and zip-cuffed the man.

The man then claimed he had the grenade because he was going to turn it in to the U.S. soldiers. But they did not believe that story, because he had not mentioned it, or indicated anything like that, until after the soldiers had found the grenade and after he had been subdued and was handcuffed with the plastic zip-strips.

“I really don’t remember exactly how I got him on the ground, but it was practically instantaneous,” she said, blushing. “I don’t remember the details of putting him down. I just remember, suddenly, I had him down on the ground with his face pressed into a sandbag and I kept holding him there.”

She said the man then started crying and someone said he might have been embarrassed because it was a shame for a man in Iraq to get beat up by a woman.

That's right. She made him cry like a baby. Poor jihadi. I'm sure the NY Times thought about publishing this story of physical abuse.

Asked if she had grown up as a tomboy, Nicholson said, “No, I was even a cheerleader for a little while. I guess I kind of grew up out in the middle of nowhere,” she said, “and I just always had to do whatever needed to be done.”

She grew up in Silverton, Idaho, and, when she was 15, her family moved to Winnemucca, Nev. She said she has also boxed with some of the men in her company.

Asked if she wore boxing gloves, she replied, “Oh yes, of course, we had boxing gloves. I wouldn’t want to hurt them.”

She is the daughter of Jim and Kris Nicholson of Winnemucca, Nev. She has been in the Army for a year and a half. Nicholson’s weapon is an M-249 SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon), which she carries with her everywhere she goes. She has nicknamed her SAW, “Camille.” “It’s my baby,” she said.

Hopefully, PFC Nicholson will consider going to the Academy Prep school (then West Point) or ROTC and get a commission. The Army needs Soldiers like her...

[read about other heroes that you should know - here!]