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Vermont National Guard Logo News
Articles
News | March 29, 2024

Sgt. Ashley Weatherwalks: Pioneering a Path in the Vermont National Guard

By Sgt. Denis Nunez

As Women's History Month draws to a close, the Vermont National Guard takes a moment to spotlight Sgt. Ashley Weatherwalks. Originating from Florida, Massachusetts, Weatherwalks is the first female Soldier in Blackjack Troop out of Bennington, Vermont, and the first female U.S. Soldier to accomplish an iteration of the Arctic exercise, Guerrier Nordique.

The military heritage in her family, notably her father's service as a Marine, ignited her passion for serving in the armed forces. Initially, she served as an 88M Motor Transport Operator in B Troop, 1-172nd Cavalry (MTN) of the Vermont National Guard. She then took a role at A Company, 186th BSB, 86th IBCT (MTN). Her aspirations soon guided her back to Blackjack, this time as a Cavalry Scout (19D).

Weatherwalks finds the Cavalry Scout MOS and the military lifestyle an appealing transition. "The school focuses a lot on ALC, teaching leadership skills for NCOs and not just how to become a scout but also a ton of techniques that would help me teach others in the future," she said.

With her leadership's unwavering support, she successfully navigated the challenges of applying, entering, and succeeding at reclassification school. The training sharpened her leadership skills and deepened her commitment to educating and leading within the military.

Weatherwalks treasures the camaraderie and familial atmosphere within her unit above all.

"The unit is like a family; I love this job and the fun aspects of being in the military and living the army lifestyle," she said. The experiences and support within her unit enrich her service, providing unique opportunities for personal and professional development.

In addition to her military accomplishments, Weatherwalks holds a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management and Healthcare Sciences from Southern New Hampshire University. This academic achievement highlights her commitment to excellence and versatility. It also is another example of how Soldiers in the National Guard bring experience and skills from their civilian lives to their units.

Her role as a single mother stands at the core of her motivation to demonstrate the capabilities of women to her daughter.

"Being a single mother drives my motivation, showing my daughter that women can achieve amazing things," said Weatherwalks.

Weatherwalks' journey of firsts did not conclude there. She recently became the first U.S. female Soldier to complete an iteration of the rigorous arctic exercise Guerrier Nordique in 2024. This accomplishment is not only a personal triumph but also a significant milestone in the representation and capabilities of female soldiers in challenging and extreme conditions.

"She is the first female we have had attend the exercise and join the team in the twelve years of doing this mission." Said Lt. Col. Jason Beams, Commander of the U.S. Army Mountain Warfare School. "She was a critical asset and brought with her not only valuable experience from previous training but positivity and resilience that benefited the entire team."

Guerrier Nordique, a demanding exercise designed to test the limits of soldiers in arctic conditions, offered Weatherwalks an unparalleled opportunity to demonstrate her resilience, adaptability, and competence in one of the most unforgiving environments on Earth. Reflecting on her experience, she said, "The Arctic was beautiful and unforgiving. It is extremely dangerous if you don't understand it. I can't wait to go back!"

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