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Teen combat medic accepts Silver Star - World leaders attend NATO summit conference; alliance allies given tall salute

Deep within the cavernous marble walls of the Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest, Romania sat two Texans, casually talking about, “what else,” Texas.

The first was President Bush, there for the first full day of NATO talks. The second was Army Spc. Monica Brown, to help kick off the first full day of the talks.

Brown, 19, is the first woman U.S. soldier to receive the Silver Star for combat in Afghanistan. Brown and 25 other soldiers, all from NATO allies who have served in NATO operations, gathered at the start of the day to be honored by those gathered for the largest summit conference in the alliance’s history.

At the start of the first meeting of the North Atlantic Council, the group marched before the great circle of presidents and prime ministers, heads of state and governments and hundreds of others gathered from around the world.

“Our soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines frequently put themselves in harm’s way so that we can be safe in our countries and our homes” said NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. “It is therefore appropriate that we start today’s meeting by paying tribute to the professionalism and dedication of the more than 60,000 men and women who are currently deployed in NATO-led mission and operations.”

A moment of silence followed in honor of those who have died fighting in NATO operations.

For the small-town girl turned combat medic, “

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