By John Harlow/TRADOC News ServiceSeptember 25, 2006
DOVER, Del. (TRADOC News Service, September 25, 2006) - Her name is Ashley Roberts and she is from Salisbury, Md.; self-described a "girly-girl," and is part of the United States Army Future Soldier program.
Roberts will be leaving in October for Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, S.C., and after graduating BCT, she will head to Shepherd Air Force Base in Texas to be a medical equipment repair specialist.
As a "Future Soldier", young men and women use that time between enlisting in the Army and the day they ship out to prepare for the challenges they will face in Basic Combat Training. Recruiters work with the Future Soldiers to help them learn some of the common tasks they will need to know and also help them get into better physical condition before they report.
"I am from a small town and I haven't been to college yet," said Roberts "I knew there was more out there but I wasn't sure which way to go with it. I think the Army can offer all of that. I will be able to travel, I will be able to meet new people and I think I will find my footing in life through the Army."
The Delmar (Del.) High School graduate, currently working at Kohl's Department Store, is using the Future Soldier program to get a head start on her Army career.
"My recruiter was very helpful," said Roberts. "He knows I ultimately want to become a pilot through the Warrant Officer Training program. He is getting me ready for that. I started working out because I haven't been in shape for a while, being out of school for a little bit. I have been running, working out and will hopefully go in as an E-2 as long as I pass my training test. We are working together once a week now."
When a young man or woman takes the Oath of Enlistment, to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign or domestic, it is a life-changing step. Getting ready for basic training and becoming a Soldier is a big change as well.
"A lot of people who know me are amazed that I have chosen to do something like this," said Roberts. "I'm a girly-girl. I think this (joining the Army) will give me stability; it will give me courage and I will feel more powerful."
With the Army currently in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, the reaction of friends and family can change a way the Future Soldier looks at joining the Army. With Roberts, that isn't the case.
"My friends are worried that I might have to go to Iraq," said Roberts. "If I have to go to Iraq, so be it. It is for a better cause. I would rather if something happens to me its over there; at least it is for a purpose.
"My Mom said if she could, she would have liked to join the Army," said Roberts. "My family is 100 percent behind me. They know it will be good for me. My Mom cried when I signed up for six years, she thought she wouldn't see me for that time, but now she knows I will be able to come home and visit."
On Sept. 22, the Army met its 2006 recruiting goal of 80,000 active duty recruits. On October 26, 2006, one of the Soldiers of the 2007 recruiting class will start her journey of making a difference. That is when Ashley Roberts will become a Soldier.