2009 alumna and five-year volunteer Ashley Asel loving life

With the 2014 band behind them, Ashely Asel smiles with Staff Sergeant April Boucher and ROTC Cadet Sarah Herrero.

With the 2014 band behind them, Ashely Asel smiles with Sergeant First Class April Boucher and ROTC Cadet Sarah Herrero.

Ashley Asel’s accomplishments since her participation in the 2009 U.S. Army All-American Marching Band have exemplified how best to live as an All-American. “You really don’t know what it means and how it truly feels to be an All-American until you march off the field,” explained Asel. “And after that performance, your life will never be the same because you are officially and forever an All-American.”

Following her experience as a color guard member, Asel was determined to further her involvement with the program and has returned as Color Guard Operations Manager for the past five years. Although she admits the position is very stressful and exhausting, she continues to look forward to bowl week every year. She has noticed that each band’s personality and performing experience is entirely unique, and the students she meets are always incredibly intelligent and motivated. Asel says she loves “watching these young adults gain a new level of respect for their military, for one another, and for themselves.”

Asel’s enjoyment of observing student growth reflects her educational pursuits. She graduated from Saint Leo University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in elementary education. She has since been at Texas State pursuing a master’s degree in developmental education with a concentration in learning support. She is currently working on her master’s thesis on how interacting with therapy dogs affects students’ stress levels while studying for finals. In addition to helping students relax during stressful times, Asel’s degree also emphasizes overall success, so she works in support services such as academic advising, life coaching, and tutoring.

Ashley Asel stands outside the Alamo in 2009 with Mary-Elise Barrett and Ashley Pittman.

Ashley Asel stands outside the Alamo in 2009 with Mary-Elise Barrett and Ashley Pittman.

Her passion for psychology and understanding people has also led Asel to consider starting an interior design and crafting business. She would design spaces that make people feel comfortable and truly reflect their unique personalities.

Asel has continued her involvement in marching bands since the USAAAMB–she marched with the Cadets in 2009, Carolina Crown in 2010 and 2011, and Phantom Regiment in 2012. She has also been in three Independent World Winter Guards and won the WGI Independent Open Class Championships in 2013 with Identity Winter Guard from San Marcos, Texas. She was an instructor for the Crossmen D&BC Color Guard in 2013 and is currently working with the Anderson High School Marching Band.

With these varied interests and experiences, Asel recognizes that her next steps in life could lead her in many different directions. It is certain, however, that whatever career path she follows, she will do so with a genuine passion and happiness. Asel recently began using the term “life-loving” to describe herself; instead of focusing on negativity in life, she chooses to wake up happy every day and strives to live in the moment.

Ashley Asel poses with Ashley Pittman during bowl week 2009.

Ashley Asel poses with Ashley Pittman during bowl week 2009.

Asel claims her experience as an All-American taught her to recognize the perfect moments in life. As she explained, “When you are performing in front of 60,000, it’s pretty hard not to notice it, but when you are miles away from your All-American family and you go up to a soldier wearing a uniform sitting in the restaurant across from you and you just walk up to them and say, ‘Thank you.’ Right there you created a perfect moment for someone.”

By volunteering her time, energy, and infectious enthusiasm to the USAAAMB operations, Asel has undoubtedly contributed to the creation of perfect moments for five generations of All-Americans. She, too, deserves a resounding ‘Thank you.’

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