Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Air Force Senior Airman Ashton L. M. Goodman

Remember Our Heroes

Air Force Senior Airman Ashton L. M. Goodman, 21, of Indianapolis

SAr Goodman was assigned to the 43rd Logistics Readiness Squadron, Pope Air Force Base, N.C.; died May 26, 2009 near Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Lt. Col. Mark E. Stratton II.

Indianapolis Star -- A young Indianapolis woman who enjoyed serving her country as a member of the Air Force has been killed in a bomb explosion in Afghanistan.

Senior Airman Ashton L. M. Goodman, 21, died Tuesday near Bagram Air Field after being wounded by an improvised explosive device. Killed in the same explosion was Lt. Col. Mark E. Stratton II, 39, Houston, a member of the Pentagon Joint Staff.

Friends of Goodman, who would have finished her tour of duty in Afghanistan in a couple of months and had served in Iraq, said she took pride in her job as a driver for the Air Force's 43rd Airlift Wing.

"She did like the military," said longtime neighbor Jerry Sweeney, who knew the senior airman since she was a toddler. "When she was in Iraq, she really liked driving supplies around. She said the people were always happy to see her."

Goodman's family could not be reached for comment. Parked in front of Goodman's house on the Far Eastside was a Toyota pickup truck she had purchased on one of her trips back home between stints in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Goodman is the third Indiana woman to die in military action during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the only one to have died from direct combat; 134 servicemen and servicewomen with Indiana ties have died in those conflicts since 2002.

Goodman graduated from Warren Central High School in 2006. School district officials said she had been a member of the school's Japan Club and participated in the Zoo Teen Club, in which she volunteered at the Indianapolis Zoo.

After joining the Air Force in July 2006, Goodman was assigned to the 43rd Airlift Wing, which is based at Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina. She was a driver for that wing, becoming certified to drive tractor-trailers and volunteering to serve in Iraq.

Goodman, who had worked at PetSmart while in high school, was fond of animals, according to a statement on the Pope Air Force Base Web site.

"She knew all kinds of animal facts and was working toward becoming a veterinarian," wrote Master Sgt. Jason Neisen. "She was always lively and friendly."

The Air Force said Stratton and Goodman were working with the Panshir Provincial Reconstruction Team, a unit that rebuilds roads and schools in Afghanistan.

"Ashton made the ultimate sacrifice in her service to our great nation," Col. John McDonald, 43rd Airlift Wing commander, said in a statement released by the wing. "We will all feel sorrow as a result of her death, but should celebrate in how she chose to live her life, her commitment and dedication."

While her assignment in Afghanistan would have ended this summer, Goodman was ready to return to that country or to seek a deployment to Africa, Neisen wrote.

"She was the kind of person you'd like to have as a daughter or a granddaughter, that's for sure," Sweeney recalled. "She was a nice girl."

Air Force Senior Airman Ashton L. M. Goodman was killed in action on 5/26/09.

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