As we celebrate Women’s History Month, be sure to congratulate two women right here on Fort Jackson who have been named Training and Doctrine Command’s Adjutant General Corps Officer and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year - Capt. Ashley Clayton, 120th Adjutant General Battalion and Sgt. 1st Class Maria Hernandez, Soldier Support Institute.
Clayton, currently commander of Company C, said she comes from a Family of people who have served, including her sister who retired from the Army.
“I think it is significant (winning as a woman) … even now women are so quick to shut down their achievements and not celebrate themselves,” Clayton said.
She said the first woman she ever worked for really mentored her.
“She really stressed to me the significance of being a woman in the military and how to navigate it … she inspired me as a woman because I’m a single mom … (she said) you can be both, you can have a career and be a mom.”
Lt. Col. Adam Grein, commander of 120th Adjutant General Battalion, nominated Clayton for the award.
“Ashley is an amazing officer whose drive, determination is vastly above her peers,” he said.
She is “intellectually gifted and highly proficient both tactically and technically - she's the kind of junior officer others will look up to and model themselves after,” Grein added. “She created and leads our battalion Woman's Mentorship Group. Ashley is a Soldier's Soldier. Fit and resilient, she continues to take on hard jobs and do extremely well at them.”
Hernandez is the senior small group leader for the Senior Leader Course at the NCO Academy on Post.
“Anytime your name is submitted for something like this, it’s just an honor … even with just the nomination I was excited,” she said.
Hernandez initially joined the Army thinking she would only do four years and get some benefits for college. She has now served for over 15 years.
“Never in my life would I have though I’d be doing these kinds of things and being successful … I fell in love with the Army,” she said. “Just to be here and serving in this capacity solidifies why I love the Army so much.”
Noncommissioned Officer Academy 1st Sgt. David Little, said “Sgt. 1st Class Hernandez is a leader before her time, a force multiplier that leads with LOVE (Leadership, Ownership, Values, and Educate) every day.”
Hernandez added, “I’m going to give it my best no matter what, at whatever level I’m at … to be nominated … I looked at it like I’m only doing my job and trying my best to perform every day and bring that fire every single day.”