AGR Recruiter Staff Sgt. Ashley Munger, at the Shelbyville Recruiting Center in Shelbyville, Ind., was the winner of the 2018 AUSA AGR Recruiter of the Year for the U.S. Army Indianapolis Recruiting Battalion. She had the honor along with other winners, of having breakfast and a meet and greet with Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel Dailey at the Association of the United States Army annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
In looking back from the beginning of her military career, to where she is now, it was a bumpy start. Munger recalls the reaction from her parents when she and her older sister Natalie told them they both wanted to enlist in the Army.
"We knew it would be upsetting to them, and they would initially say no. But, if Natalie and I stood our ground, and give them good solid reasons why enlisting was a good choice for us, they might listen," said Munger.
This was in 2007, when Ashley and Natalie were both students at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Ind., and they spoke with Army recruiter Staff Sgt. Adams, during one of his school visits. The girls sat down with Adams and went over the information of the benefits and options available in the Army. Both sisters knew they wanted to enlist.
"I was drawn to the college benefits. I needed something that would help me pay for college," said Munger. "I didn't receive enough scholarship assistance, and I knew I didn't want to pay out of pocket or get weighed down with student loans, and the Tuition Assistance and the $20K in loan repayment was enticing."
"We live on a farm, in a small community….somewhat isolated from the outside. So when both girls told us they wanted to enlist, we were shocked," said Mrs. Glenda Munger, their mother.
She continues, "You think to yourself that you want to keep them safe…out of harm's way, not go into the eye of the storm! There was never a hint that either girl was interested in the military."
All of the family members were present when SSG Adams made a visit to their home. He went into detail about what to expect, job training, benefits, available options and more. He answered all their questions and helped quell any lingering doubts family members may have had.
Mrs. Munger related that what helped sway her and their father, was that the girls would go into the Army Reserve, and would be able to stay close to home. She liked the idea of them getting paid, which meant money for school, and they only needed to participate in drills one week-end a month.
With both parents in agreement, both girls started their paperwork and went to the MEPS for physicals. Natalie did not pass the physical; but Ashley went on to finish processing, and enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve on January 26, 2008.
Munger completed her basic training at Fort Jackson, S. C., and knew her family would be attending the graduation ceremony.
"It was during the graduation ceremony that her father and I saw our daughter in her uniform for the first time, and we were so proud," said Mrs. Glenda Munger, relating the experience of seeing her daughter in her Army uniform for the first time. "This person in front of me, was standing tall, spoke with confidence, looking sharp and mature in her uniform. I saw first-hand that this was a good experience for Ashley. I saw my daughter as a Soldier in the United States Army. We knew then, she had made the right decision."
Munger was assigned to the 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command (ESC) in Indianapolis, Ind. She attended the Warrior Leadership Course at Camp Ashland, Neb., and the ACE/ASIST SI class in Sloan, Nev. In August of 2015, she received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice; and was promoted to Sergeant. In October 2015, Munger started her tour on ADOS-RC orders with ESC. She worked as the Human Resources NCO, the temporary Unit Administrator, and the Training NCO. It was during this time that she submitted her packet for an AGR tour. In January 2016, she accepted an AGR recruiting position and was assigned to the Indianapolis Recruiting Battalion, with duty at the Shelbyville Recruiting Center (Ind.); and was promoted April 1, 2017.
Munger said, "The Army has given me multiple opportunities to travel, further my military career, and introduced me to people, cultures, values, and ethics that many jobs and or professions could not offer. I have completed and earned my Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice; able to provide for myself and become more confident in my leader-ship abilities."
Mrs. Munger has been very supportive of her daughters' recruiting efforts and has Army posts on her Facebook page. She talks to people about her daughter being in the Army, and that she is a recruiter, and will give out her daughter's contact information, if they seem interested.
"My mother always shares Facebook posts, and congratulates every person that enlists through our office. She's friends with almost every other Recruiter in the office, and will comment/like/share their Facebook stuff as well," said Munger. "She'll be a big help to those parents of other young girls' that are interested in joining, by sharing how she reacted initially to me joining, to where she is now, in full support of what I do."