They were among the Army’s most elite soldiers, and they were women. Community Support Team 2 was a special ops unit of female soldiers who accompanied Army Rangers and Green Berets on dangerous night missions in Afghan’s Kandahar province. Designated as an “attachment” because women weren’t allowed to serve in combat, their training was worthy of any special unit. Only half of the volunteers survived the “100 hours of hell.”

Their mission was to reach out to women and children to gather intelligence—something male soldiers couldn’t do in such a conservative society where men and women couldn’t mingle. Their experiences and the death of the charismatic heart of their unit, 1st Lt. Ashley White, who was killed along with two male colleagues byan IED explosion, are the subject of a Nightline report to air April 22 at 12:35 a.m. ET.

These women warriors broke new ground and made it possible for the Rangers and Green Berets to complete highly sensitive missions. Hand-picked from across the Army, these sisters in arms represented the best of the best and proved themselves with honor, valor and courage.

Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special-Ops Battlefield  by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon (HarperCollins, April 21, 2015).

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Lemmon, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, heard about White’s death from a former Marine and wondered, “what was she doing out there, who were these women and what motivated them.”  The results were an insightful look at a hero who died serving her country and the elite band of little-known women united by the unbreakable bonds of war.