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Tribute to Senior Airman Ashton Goodman

  • Published
  • By Capt. Stacie N. Shafran
  • Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs
Over the past few weeks, a 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 Senior Airman Ashton Goodman was a capable vehicle operator. 

The Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team's main project has been the construction of a $28 million road project 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 alongside me in public affairs. Eager to tell our 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 we 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.