When Airman 1st Class Ashley Gibbs, 718th Intelligence Squadron, reported to Air Force Basic Military Training last year, she did so with a desire to maintain her family’s military tradition and as a means to challenge herself. But along this journey, Ashley would quickly set herself apart. She was awarded Honor Graduate from the 737th Training Group, placing her in the top ten percent of recruits. To achieve this distinction, Ashley earned the Fitness Excellence Award, completed all inspections with no failures, exceeded a 90 percent grade in all academic tasks and was recommended for this award by her training instructor.
Ashley’s husband, an active duty Marine, was able to briefly return from overseas to see her graduate. When she first approached her husband of her intent to join the Air Force Reserve, he was surprised but supportive because she has a tradition of Marine Corps service in her family; her father was a Marine and her brother is currently serving as a Marine.
While Ashley decided to step in a different direction, she felt that it was the right choice.
“Joining the Air Force Reserve was important because I wanted a challenge and to be part of something bigger than myself. With my husband on active duty, I felt it would be easier to transition units during his PCS (permanent change of station) as a reservist than if I went active. He also said the Air Force would treat me better,” Ashley said.
The next milestone for Ashley was to attend the Imagery Analysis Course where she won the Distinguished Graduate award, taking the top spot in the class. She also received a letter of appreciation from the 17th Training Wing commander, Col. Ricky Mills, for her participation in Operation KIDS (Kids Investigating Deployment Services) for children with deployed parents.
The purpose of the program is to expose children to the simulated experience of processing through a deployment line and then receive demonstrations from security forces, explosive ordnance disposal, etc.
Ashley did not slow down when she reported to the 718th IS. While still in-processing the unit, she participated with her squadron during the 497th Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance Group’s Warrior Day event. Ashley displayed her athleticism as a member of the squadron’s Ultimate Frisbee team, beating teams from six active duty squadrons for the 718th’s first-ever win.
Ashley recently earned her Distributed Ground Station qualification and was certified as a Full Motion Video Imagery Analyst on the weapon system. When asked what her future goals are, Ashley said,
“I want to finish my bachelor’s degree and to master the ops floor. I want to work my way towards IMS (Imagery Mission supervisor) so that I can train and lead future Airmen.”
The 655 Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing is dedicated to serving as the premier and most diverse ISR Group in the United States Air Force, delivering timely, reliable, accurate and actionable intelligence products enabling a decision advantage over adversaries of the United States. The 655th is an independent wing under 10th Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH, and consists of two Groups and 14 intelligence squadrons (IS) across Ohio, California, Texas, Nebraska, Virginia, Florida and Maryland conducting 10 distinct missions. For exciting and rewarding career opportunities with the 655 ISRG, please contact your local Air Force Reserve recruiter or call 937-257-8117.