Army Sergeant Amanda Pinson worked as a cryptologist in
Iraq. She died on March 16, 2006, at the age of 21, when
insurgents detonated a mortar round in her compound in
Tikrit, Iraq. Amanda enlisted in the Army after
graduating from Hancock Place High School, Mississippi.
At school she won several scholarships and excelled in
academics and athletics. She planned to attend college
after her military service and become an FBI or CIA
agent. After enlisting, Amanda received training in
electronic intelligence at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri,
after which she was assigned to the 101st Military
Intelligence Detachment, 501st Special Troops Battalion,
101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell,
Kentucky. In 2006, her unit was deployed on the
frontlines in Iraq. Amanda was part of a highly skilled
group who fought their battles not only on the sands of
the desert, but also in the electronic ether. As a
cryptologist, her role was to provide and protect
essential communications, as many cryptologists did in
past wars and conflicts.
Signals intelligence and communications
security personnel not only works from within their
garrison.They must also perform on the front lines in
time of war. Amanda's tragic story reminds us to respect
all those who serve in silence and risk their life while
doing things we don't see, hear or know of. Their work is
considered secret and vital to their nation's security,
not allowing them to disclose their achievements. They
also play an important role in peace time by protecting
and gathering information that keeps military powers
balanced, as we saw in the Cold War. Amanda is the first
female soldier to be honored by the National Security
Agency. On May 30, 2006, Lieutenant General Keith B.
Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, paid
special tribute to Amanda during the Agencys annual
Memorial Day Observance and unveiled Amanda Pinson's
name, inscribed on the NSA Memorial Wall.
shall grow not old, as we that are left
Age shall not weary them, nor the years
At the going down of the sun and in the
We will remember them.