Sergeant Ashley Klipfel
Service Branch: United States Army Reserve
Combat Action: Operation Iraqi Freedom (Two Tours - Iraq & Kuwait)
Home Town: Lincoln (Currently Resides in Lodgepole)
Military Specialty: Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic (Heavy Equipment Transports)
Units: 443rd Transportation Co., 450th Transportation Btn., 561st Regional Support Grp.
Decorations, Citations, and Awards: - National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal w/ Star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary & Service Medals, Driver & Mechanics Badge w/ Wheeled Vehicle Clasp, Three Army Commendation Medals, Numerous Achievement & Service Citations
Ashley Klipfel grew up fast. She had to. In the space of 15 months she went from being an 18-year-old Community College coed in Lincoln, Nebraska to being an Army Reserve Heavy Wheeled Transport Mechanic in Iraq. Her studies moved from Early Childhood Education to the straight lines and square corners of the Basic Combat Training Manual of Arms to Diesel Engine Fuel Injection and Heavy Wheeled Transport Drive Trains. Amid all of these changes in her life, Ashley’s mother, quite suddenly and quite unexpectedly, died. Now in addition to everything else, Ashley faced caring for her 16-year-old sister.
Mustering what resources she could to provide for her sister and navigating the obstacles of Army Reserve Unit reorganization, Ashley drilled with the 308th Transportation Company in Lincoln as they prepared to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Medical exams, vaccinations, and all their paperwork had to be squared away before mobilization training started in Ft. Riley, KS. While planning for their traditional mission of Logistical Transport Convoy, the 308th was notified that their mission in Iraq would also include Convoy Security.
In March 2006, they were “in country…boots on the ground,” setting up the motor pool, defining operational protocols, generally getting the fleet road worthy, and learning the geography by riding “right seat” with the departing unit. Ashley’s motor pool platoon did everything humanly and logistically possible to get the battle-worn equipment they inherited on the road. Eventually, replacement vehicles arrived, but the experience sharpened their skills in operating and maintaining vehicles and weapons systems under remote, desert combat conditions. Once oriented, acclimated, and equipped, Ashley took part in convoy security missions which were run at night while the Iraqi population was ordered off the roads. 19-year-old Private First Class Klipfel was 7,000 miles away from home, seeing a part of the world entirely different from anything in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Fast-forward two years, saddle up, and do it all, again. By now, the 308th Medium Transport Company had grown into the 443rd Heavy Equipment Transport Company…the Titans, and Sergeant Klipfel wore two more chevrons on her sleeve. The Company deployed in February, 2009 to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait with Ashley in a leadership role as a service supervisor. She was also charged with maintaining all service-part and bench-stock inventories. It was a hot, heavy tour with a much bigger company and a great deal more personal responsibility.
Today, Ashley lives with her son in Lodgepole, works in Women’s’ Outerwear Merchandizing at Cabela’s Corporate Office in Sidney, and continues her Reserve Unit service with the 443rd Transportation Company. Some might see how she’s grown and say “A-B-C – Adversity Builds Character.” While she certainly has strength of character, Ashley doesn’t merely deal with adversity. She meets challenges. Whether she’s augmenting product lines for a major outdoor retail chain, overhauling diesel engines for the 443rd Titans, or taking care of those she loves, Sergeant Ashley Klipfel is truly…Army Strong.