Soldier with Shelburne roots in book about combat women

Courtesy photo
Now Major Johanna Hipp when deployed in the Middle East.

A former Shelburne resident is one of three women in military combat roles featured in a new book out this week tilted “Beyond the Call: Three Women on the Front Lines in Afghanistan.”

Deployed with the 10th Mountain Division to Iraq and later assigned to the 1st Infantry Brigade in Afghanistan, Capt. Johanna Smoke is featured in the new hardcover release written by Eileen Rivers, a USA Today editor and editorial board member. A U.S. Army veteran herself and Arab linguist, Rivers previously reported for The Washington Post, covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The book, published by Da Capo Press, tells the stories of three women soldiers who broke barriers within their own military establishment and whose gender allowed them a unique role in the traditional Afghan communities where they were assigned. Facing traditions that prevented women from communicating with American military men, the female service members made valuable intelligence inroads with the local communities where they were deployed.

The publisher’s preview calls the service members’ stories “groundbreaking journeys” and says that their work in local villages “helped empower Afghan women, providing them with the education and financial tools necessary to rebuild their nation – and the courage to push back against the insurgency that wanted to destroy it.”

Now remarried and promoted, Major Johanna Hipp is the daughter of Don and Maureen Condon of Shelburne. She graduated from Champlain Valley Union High School in 1996.

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