Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Ashley's War: The Untold Story

I recently had the privilege of reading, "Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield" by  Gale Tzemach Lemmon.  I was introduced to this story by an interesting podcast, "Smart Women, Smart Power" by Nina Easton.  Both the podcast and the book are very interesting.

There's a lot of talk in the news about women in combat roles, but dating back to World War II (and possibly before), women have been serving the military and putting themselves in harm's way more than people realize.

Ashley's War focuses on telling the modern day story of courageous women by looking at one hero's life, Ashley White Stumpf.  She was a petite blonde Kent State alumnus who was also a Catholic.  Her ultimate life goal was to raise a family with her husband, but before she settled down, she wanted to make a difference in the world.

She joined an elite group in the military called "Cultural Support Teams" otherwise known as CSTs.  CSTs are attached to special forces, such as the Army Rangers.  Their role, particularly in Afghanistan, is to provide access to the over 50% of the population that due to cultural reasons male soldiers don't have access to; women and children.  Not only did they help to investigate and question this population, they also helped to keep them safe.

The author summarizes Ashley's heroism well,  "When Ashley White-Stumpf became an angel, she was at the apex of her life.  She was a newlywed with an incredibly loving and supporting husband.  She had just purchased her first home.  She had a good job and an amazing family.  And yet, Ashley asked, 'what can I do, how can I make a difference?'  Think about that for a minute.  How much better would this world be if every person, at the happiest, most fulfilled point in their life, thought not of themselves, but of the good they could do for things bigger than themselves?"

Please consider thinking about this question and as the political discussion of females in the military is discussed.  Look at the perspective offered in this book.  I found it enlightening and inspiring.

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