FORT KNOX, Ky. –
An Indianapolis Recruiting Battalion Army Reserve recruiter received a career-validating honor when she won the 2018 Association of the United States Army Active Guard Reserve Recruiter of the Year.
Staff Sgt. Ashley Munger, assigned to the Shelbyville Army Recruiting Center in Shelbyville, Indiana, joined other AUSA winners in attending a breakfast and 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.
Munger has come a long way with the support of her family, but looking back to the beginning of her military career, it was a bumpy start. She recalled 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 gave them good solid reasons for why enlisting was a good choice for us, they might listen," Munger said.
In 2007, Ashley and Natalie were both students at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis, Indiana. 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 about the benefits and options available in the Army and both sisters knew they wanted to enlist.
"I was drawn to the college benefits. I needed something that would help me pay for college," Munger said. "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. The tuition assistance and the $20,000 in loan repayment was enticing."
The girls' mother, Glenda Munger, was caught off guard by her daughters' decision.
"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," Glenda said. "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 Munger family was present when 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 of their questions and helped quell any lingering doubts family members may have had.
Glenda related that what helped sway her and their father, was that the girls would enlist in the Army Reserve and would be able to stay close to home. She liked the idea of them getting paid. It meant money for school and they only needed to participate in drills one weekend a month.
With both parents in agreement, Ashley and Natalie 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, South Carolina and her family attended 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," Glenda said. 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 in Indianapolis, Indiana. In August 2015, she received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and was promoted to sergeant.
After graduation, Munger elected to take a tour on Active Duty Operational Support, Reserve Component program receiving orders in October 2015 to serve with the 310th ESC as the Human Resources noncommissioned officer, the temporary unit administrator and the training NCO. It was during this time she decided to submit a packet for an AGR tour.
Her packet was approved and she accepted an AGR recruiting position assigned to the Indianapolis Recruiting Battalion with duty at the Shelbyville Recruiting Center and was promoted to staff sergeant April 1, 2017.
"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," Munger said. "I have completed and earned my Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice, am able to provide for myself and have become more confident in my leadership abilities."
Glenda has been very supportive of her daughter's 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. She will also 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," Munger said. "She's friends with almost every other recruiter in the office and will comment/like/share their Facebook stuff as well. 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."