Senior Airman Ashton Goodman was instrumental in advancing women's affairs in Afghanistan's Panjshir Province. On May 23, she participated in a shura, or meeting, with the Afghan Director of Women's Affairs and 20 local women and teenage girls. The group discussed future educational opportunities for the valley's women and girls. Airman Goodman lost her life May 26 from wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Stacie N. Shafran)
Senior Airman Ashton Goodman enjoyed interacting with and learning from Panjshir's women. She served as a member of the Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team's women's affairs committee and regularly organized events and projects to directly improve the quality of life of Afghan women. Airman Goodman lost her life May 26 from wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Stacie N. Shafran)
Senior Airman Ashton Goodman organized a humanitarian assistance mission for more than 100 poor Afghan women in a nearby village May 18, 2009. An aspiring writer and photographer, Airmen Goodman enjoyed capturing the Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team's mission in photos and words. She also enjoyed the cultural diversity of this deployment and interaction with the Panjshir people. Airman Goodman lost her life May 26 from wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Stacie N. Shafran)
Senior Airman Ashton Goodman and Lt. Col. Mark E. Stratton atop "Lion Hill" behind their Forward Operating Base in Afghanistan May 24, 2009. Colonel Stratton served as the Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team's commander while Airman Goodman spent the majority of her deployment as the Panjshir PRT's primary tactical driver and usually served as the commander's driver. Both Airmen lost their lives May 26 from wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Stacie N. Shafran)
by Capt. Stacie N. Shafran
Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs
5/29/2009 - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (AFNS) -- On May 26, Senior Airman Ashton Goodman, Lt. Col. Mark E. Stratton II, the commander of the Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team, and Army Master Sgt. Blue Rowe were killed near here from wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device.
Over the past few weeks, this senior airman on the verge of becoming a non-commissioned officer seemed to transform in front of her teammate's eyes.
Everyone already knew that Airman Goodman was a capable vehicle operator.
The Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team's main project has been the construction of a $28 million road connecting Panjshir to the Badakhshan province, as well as all neighboring provinces. Airman Goodman supported countless engineering missions to the province's most northern and remote district of Paryan where the final leg of the 80-mile road is presently under construction.
It seems, though, that as her tour on Panjshir's Provincial Reconstruction Team came to an end, she still had a few things left on her to-do list.
Over the past month, Airman Goodman, an aspiring writer and photographer, volunteered to work in the public affairs office. Eager to tell her team's story, she penned her first news story and quickly found herself published on the Air Force Web site. She also channeled her passion and creativity every day for two weeks into producing the team's yearbook. Within days of launching an impressive advertising campaign, she had books sold to nearly everyone she came into contact with.
As a 21-year-old young woman, Airman Goodman also found herself in a unique position mentoring the province's female Afghan leadership. During weekly meetings with the Director of Women's Affairs, she advanced the economic and social development of women in Panjshir.
On May 18, she led the tremendous undertaking to deliver much-needed food and house supplies to more than 100 poor women. As the group drove up the narrow, steep, winding road to the village, she beamed with excitement over the chance to personally help these women.
Over the next few days, leading into Memorial Day weekend, she'd go on to mingle with female teachers during a "Teacher's Day" celebration, participate in a women's shura (meeting), attend a photography exhibit at Ahmad Shah Massoud's tomb where she saw Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, one of the country's presidential candidates and sample freshly made ice cream in a local bazaar.
Her contributions to this team are countless and now, as I look at the empty desk next to me in the small office I shared for the past month with Airman Goodman, I smile when I think about the past month I shared with her and the impact she made on Panjshir Province. Her vivacious spirit, zest of life, and eagerness to experience it all will forever be remembered by our team.
7/18/2009 8:59:11 AM ET I went to tech school with Airman Goodman. I came across her picture as on of the many fallen while researching for a paper on the Iraq War. I am so sad to hear of her death. She was a great airman.
Monica kinder, Formerly McChord AFB
6/8/2009 11:23:52 PM ET I am proud to read about the accomplishments SrA Goodman and the comments left by those who appreciate her work and sacrifice. I am a former Panjshir PRT member and know firsthand the hard albeit rewarding mission Panjshir Province provides. My prayers are with the families and friends of Lt Col Stratton SrA Goodman and MSG Rowe as well as the Panjshir PRT.
SSgt Andre Sanchez-Romero, Aviano AB Italy
6/7/2009 8:52:03 PM ET At Pope they had a memorial service for SRA Goodman. As everyone learned she was amazing and dedicated Airman. She seemed like a person who you would take a bullet for because she was a great human being. God gave us SRA Goodman and it was time that God took her back into heaven.
TSgt Brian Smits, Pope AFB
6/4/2009 11:25:55 AM ET I did not know you but have learned that you were an extaordinary person let alone Airman. I am someone who knows the great sacrifice and i'm a fellow 2T1 heading to Afghanistan let me say for all transporters rest now Ashton we got it from here.
gregory mccallister, Lackland AFB
6/4/2009 4:01:11 AM ET I had the pleasure of meeting Ashton at CST at Fort Bragg North Carolina where we both were preparing for our PRT deployments. I didn't get the chance to know her very well but you could tell through her words and how well she carried herself that she was a very special person. I am very proud to have served with SrA Goodman and am grateful for the sacrifices she made for our great country as well as her efforts to better our brothers and sisters of developing nations. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and her team. Capt Shafran this was very well written and many thanks to you for efforts in Ashton's memory
SrA Colin Mayo, RCE Afghanistan
6/2/2009 9:07:20 PM ET I remember asthon as the kid next door because she and my daughter went to school together. I saw her as my own child and had talked to her almost as such. We will miss her dearly and I will always stand proud to has known her. I am an E4 retired US Army and as such I have lost another family member and I greave for and with all woh knew her. We will always be in your debt Ashton for you gave your life in service to this great nation. the spirit of a warrior never dies it just rest till it is call to service again.
Jerry Smith, Indianapolis IN
6/2/2009 9:36:41 AM ET My prayers are with the families of these 3 brave heroes who gave their lives doing something so honorable and courageous for all of us here at home that we tend to take for granted - I am so thankful for their service to our country. I have a very dear friend who loved Ashton like a sister and had the most respect for his commander. He is so distraught over all this - he was in the lead vehicle during the attack and just can't bear the loss of these three wonderful members of his unit. God Bless You All and You Will Not Be Forgotten.
Kendra Curry, Indianapolis IN
6/1/2009 1:49:56 PM ET What a sad loss of two great Airmen I personally knew Lt Col Stratton and worked with him at Offutt AFB he was a great Airman and friend and will be missed dearly.
MSgt Andrew Denham, Andrews AFB MD
6/1/2009 11:30:54 AM ET Remembrance profile started for SrA Goodman and LtCol Stratton at websiteAIR FORCE TOGETHER WE SERVED
Mike Bell, Joplin MO
6/1/2009 10:39:48 AM ET You are doing great things out there as a team and it is with great remorse that we have lost members of our AF family. Thank you Stacie for putting together such a wonderful perspective of an inspiring Airman SrA Ashton. I wish you the best for you and your team's remaining tour and for those that come after you
Maj Kristina Selstrom, Langley AFB VA
6/1/2009 1:18:08 AM ET Very touching story. My heart goes out to the families friends and co-workers of the fallen warriors. If only all could be as caring and compassionate about their job the mission and the dedication to helping others while serving. She was the perfect image of what an Airman should be. Thank you so much for your service Senior Airman Ashton Goodman.
Staff Sgt. John Gordinier, Joint Base Balad Iraq
5/31/2009 10:54:49 PM ET Truly an American hero SrA Goodman's selfless act's to give service before herself is what our great Air Force is all about My prayers go out to both her and LTC Stratton's family.
Lawrence Crespo, Nellis AFB Las Vegas Nev.
5/31/2009 11:28:36 AM ET Such a touching and sad story. My thoughts and prayers go out to both families of these brave airman. How proud their families must be.
MaryAnn Everly MSgt Ret, Washington
5/30/2009 1:49:45 PM ET I pray for the LORD Jesus' Compassion and Blessings to be with your dear family What a brave daughter you had in AshtonA VeteranWard Barr
Ward Barr, U.S.
5/30/2009 1:35:36 PM ET Thank you Capt Shafran for sharing some of SrA Goodman's spirit with us. I passed her story to others that aren't in the military. My prayers go out to both families.
Tim Morse GG-12 MSgt Ret, Hanscom AFB MA
5/30/2009 10:39:49 AM ET My prayers go out to the families of SrA Goodman and Lt. Col Stratton. They made the ultimate sacrifice. Thank you for your service.
LaTanja Steele, Ali ABTallil Iraq
5/30/2009 6:36:05 AM ET It's very sad that we lost 2 great Airmen. These Airmen are truly the heroes in our generations and generations to come. I am very proud of what you did for the people in Afghanistan. Thank you.
Victorino Suguitan, Manas AB Kyrgyz Republic
5/30/2009 6:09:48 AM ET Two angels are still with us today. To the families and friends of SrA Goodman and LTC Stratton my prayers are with you. To the fallen thank you for volunteering to make a difference in a world when most are too scared to. Your actions will never be forgotten and are incredibly inspiring to so many
k havens, misawa ab japan
5/30/2009 1:45:34 AM ET SrA Goodman will always been know as my Super Troop. She always tackled duties and missions that I assigned to her head on A fallen warrior to all but a lost daughter to me.
MSgt Limweshe D. Wright, Panjshir PRT 11 Afghanistan
5/29/2009 10:42:03 PM ET What an incredible Airman and Air Force leader. She made the choice to lead from where she stood. She made a positive impact to everything within her reach. I live for the opportunity to serve with such extraordinary men and women. The families of Ashton and Lt Col Stratton are in my prayers. Both are truly an American patriots who have given all they can give to advance the cause of our nation.
CMSgt John A. Elder, Fairchild AFB Washington
5/29/2009 10:34:42 PM ET What an incredible Airman and Air Force leader. She made the choice to lead from where she stood. She made a positive impact to everything within her reach. I live for the opportunity to serve with such extraordinary men and women. The families of Ashton and Lt Col Stratton are in my prayers. Both are truly an American patriots who have given all they can give to advance the cause of our Nation.
CMSgt John A. Elder, Fairchild AFB Washington
5/29/2009 6:43:10 PM ET WOW Such an AMAZING young airmen I'm at a loss for words after reading this. My thoughts and prayers are with Ashton LTC Stratton and their families. To these two brave warriors...THANK YOU for your service