Sergeant Lauren Montoya was born and raised in Austin, Tx. She attended Texas A&M University before enlisting in the army as a human intelligence collector. In 2011, she graduated from basic training and advanced individual training, and was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 10th mountain division. After two years stationed at HHBN, Sergeant Montoya volunteered for a position as a Cultural Support Team member for Special Operations Command.
After completing assessment and selection, and the CST course, Sergeant Montoya was selected to deploy to Afghanistan in support of Special Forces operations. In November 2013, Sergeant Montoya deployed with her Special Forces unit to Afghanistan where they spent five months conducting missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. During that deployment, Sergeant Montoya’s unit was attacked by an improvised explosive device while traveling on a mission in Southern Afghanistan. Sergeant Montoya was gunning a .50 caliber machine gun, mounted on an RG-33, and was injured in the attack but survived and was transported to the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas to recover and began limb salvage treatment in order to save her left foot and lower leg. Unfortunately, after countless surgeries, she was ultimately given an amputation below the knee. After months of rehabilitation at the Center For the Intrepid, Sergeant Montoya was found fit for duty and will return to work as an active duty soldier in the coming months.
Sergeant Montoya’s awards include, the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one campaign star, the ISAF NATO medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Combat Action Badge, the Marksmanship Qualification Badge–Expert with Recoilless Rifle, and a meritorious count of five Army Achievement Medals.