Ashley Vasquez

Serving in the Navy
From 2018 - Present

When were you drafted or when did you enlist?

January 2018.


Why did you choose your branch of service?

Being from California, I couldn't bear to think of living anywhere other than near the ocean, which is why I chose the Navy.


What do you remember about that day?

I recall staying in a hotel the previous night with another recruit who was joining the army. We discussed our concerns and expectations for what joining the military would mean for our lives all night long. It was nice to have someone there with you during that experience, I keep in touch with her to this day.


Can you describe a happy moment from your time in the service?

I took part in an Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) mission in June 2019, and it gave me insight into the impact I as a service member can have on our citizens. We went to New York to provide for the medical needs of underserved communities. I was happy to be able to assist those in need on this trip.


Who was your best friend in the military during your time at war? Do you still keep in touch with them today?

Crystal Caldwell is my closest friend in the Navy. We stayed close throughout our entire military training, from boot camp to corpsman school to later optometry school. Even now, we remain in contact.


What were the first few months out of the service like?

I am still currently serving.


Do you have advice for those transitioning out of the military?

Use all the resources the military has to offer for veterans. The transition assistance program (TAP) offers a lot of resources.


If you hadn’t gone into the service, what do you imagine your career life would have been? Did you explore a different career after service?

If I hadn’t gone into the service, I would probably be still working at Target. The military has given me the opportunity to go to school and get my business degree. If I explore different options outside of the military, I would like to become a project manager.