Sgt. Ashley Loving, a supply sergeant in the 11th Missile Defense Battery, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, stands near a retaining wall at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. (Courtesy photo by U.S. Army/RELEASED)
Sgt. Ashley Loving, a supply sergeant in the 11th Missile Defense Battery, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, stands near a retaining wall at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. (Courtesy photo by U.S. Army/RELEASED) (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command has Soldiers in 23 locations all across the planet. I had the opportunity to speak with on of these globally dispersed Soldiers, Sgt Ashley Loving, about her career, goals and service. She joined the Army eight days after graduating from high school in Chatham, Illinois, and became a military police officer.

Five years later, Sgt. Ashley Loving is now a supply sergeant in the 11th Missile Defense Battery at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, serving at her first permanent duty station overseas. It’s the first time she has been out of the U.S., and I recently spoke to her about her experience thus far and her time spent in SMDC.

Q: How has serving in Turkey been?

A: Being in a foreign country is definitely difficult due to the language and culture barriers. This only gives me an opportunity to learn about the country and its people though. Turkey is a major Muslim ally in this region, and to be able to be a part of such a partnership that goes back for many decades, is pretty special.

Q: So you are about six months into your tour there. What comes next? What are your long-term plans in the military?

A: I want to stay in the Army as long as I can. I plan on achieving my bachelor’s degree in health and wellness in January of 2022, then I want to go Green to Gold (an enlisted to officer program) and achieve a master’s degree in nutrition.

Q: It sounds like you are liking the Army as you are on your second enlistment and want to become an officer down the road, so why did you join?

A: When I was in the fourth grade, my dad joined the Army as an engineer and ever since I was determined to join, so I signed up as soon as I could out of high school.

Q: So you are now in a unit that falls under Space and Missile Defense Command. What is it you find interesting about that, thinking big picture?

A: I get to see a different side of the Army. I was in a military police line and detachment unit, and now I get to see an air defense artillery forward base that often gets overlooked, supporting an entirely different theater.

Q: If you were to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

A: Adaptable, motivated and determined.

Q: What are you determined to do, besides become an officer and get a master’s degree?

A: I want to have an alpaca and llama farm out in the country when I retire. A nice quiet plot of land with animals. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.