Diplomatic Security Service special agent receives prestigious award for role in Afghanistan evacuation


Hy becomes third DSS special agent to take top WIFLE honor

Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) Special Agent Star Hy received the 2022 Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) Julie Y. Cross Award for her role in the August 2021 drawdown of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, and for assisting with subsequent humanitarian operations in the country. Hy is the third DSS special agent to receive this honor.

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WIFLE presented the award to Hy on August 10 in Phoenix, Arizona, at a ceremony, that recognized the outstanding accomplishments of women in federal law enforcement. Hy was joined at the ceremony by Supervisory Special Agent and WIFLE vice president, Jessica McTigue.

DSS Supervisory Special Agent Benjamin Sides, who was the deputy regional security officer in Kabul during the time of the evacuation, nominated Hy for the award. Sides praised Hy for her “heroism and exceptional courage, risking her life on the front lines of incredible danger amid an unpredictable security situation as the Taliban overtook strategic locations through Kabul.”

According to the citation, Hy worked with her fellow DSS agents to secure the U.S. embassy and safely evacuate more than 1,400 U.S. government personnel, family members, contractors, and third-country nationals to the Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA), where she and other State Department personnel worked around the clock to evacuate hundreds of thousands of Americans, foreign allies, and at-risk Afghans. With the Taliban nearing the embassy’s gates, Hy helped destroy thousands of sensitive and classified documents, computer equipment, and armored vehicles to prevent them from falling into the Taliban’s control. She also secured hundreds of weapons and other sensitive materials for the move from the embassy to HKIA.

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Upon arriving at the airport, Hy “heroically provided security amid flash grenades, tear gas, and machine-gun fire while U.S. and Afghan military forces struggled to control volatile crowds at the gates.” She also used her expertise in reviewing and verifying U.S. and Afghan travel and identity documents to assist her consular colleagues in processing the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing Afghanistan.

The United States continued diplomatic operations in Afghanistan until Aug. 30, 2021. DSS was the only federal law enforcement agency operating in Afghanistan following the evacuation of the U.S. embassy; Hy was the sole female U.S. law enforcement officer supporting the evacuation and humanitarian operations.

All full-time sworn women federal law enforcement officers are eligible for the Julie Y. Cross Award. The award is given to the nominee who best displays an unusual degree of courage, stamina, and willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty, resulting in an exceptional heroic achievement in law enforcement.

Hy joined DSS in 2009. Prior to her posting in Kabul, she served at U.S. diplomatic posts in Mexico City and Sarajevo, and in the Washington, D.C., area. Hy is a graduate of Mount Saint Mary Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas. She graduated from West Point with a bachelor’s degree in Systems Engineering and holds Masters’ degrees from Johns Hopkins University, the National Intelligence University, and Troy University. Hy is a military intelligence officer in the U.S. Army Reserve.

WIFLE is a non-profit organization established in 1999. It is the only organization offering awards to promote and recognize exceptional courage, outstanding accomplishments, and significant contributions that have advanced the recruitment, retention, and promotion of women in federal law enforcement.

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DSS is the law enforcement and security arm of the U.S. Department of State. With the largest global footprint of any U.S. law enforcement agency, DSS special agents, engineers, security technicians, and diplomatic couriers are located at 275 locations around the world in more than 170 countries. DSS special agents provide a safe environment for the conduct of U.S. diplomacy and protect the integrity of U.S. travel documents.

For more information about DSS, visit www.state.gov/m/ds or contact DSS Public Affairs at ds-press@state.gov.

 



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