The nation is mourning the death of Lt Emily Perez, 23, the first Black woman to serve as corps commander sergeant major at West Point. Perez, who graduated in the top 10 percent of her class, out-ran many men, directed a gospel choir, read the Bible every day. She also headed a weekly convoy as it rolled down treacherous roads, pocked with bombs and bullets near Najaf , Iraq . As platoon leader, she insisted on leading her troops from the front. She died Sept. 12 when a bomb detonated near her Humvee in Kifl, south of Baghdad . Shortly before shipping out to Iraq with the 204th Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, she flew cross-country to be a bone marrow donor for a stranger who was a match. She was the 64th woman from the U.S. military to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Photo courtesy of family.