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Munford Graduate Ashley Lewis is welcomed home from Kuwait with a party

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Sgt. Ashley Lewis briefing Sgt. Ashley Lewis getting plate Sgt. Ashley Lewis Grandma hug Sgt. Ashley Lewis lined up Sgt. Ashley Lewis talks Sgt. Ashley Lewis welcome back on base

The heat of Kuwait welcomed Sgt. Ashley “Beefy” Lewis and the rest of the 212th Engineer Company Tennessee Army National Guard last March.
The 2007 Munford High School graduated left the Volunteer State on Feb. 7 to prepare to head overseas to help build structures at Camp Arifijan. After a month at Ft. Bliss, Texas, it was time to travel to Kuwait.
“It was hot,” Lewis said of stepping foot in the land on March 23. “We went to Kuwait City and started our process.”
Lewis also noted how there was a lack of indoor plumbing, unpaved roads and sand also everywhere. That was going to be Lewis and her company’s way of life until Dec. 9.
“It stinks being away from your family and friends for 8 months,” she said. “But then you realize you’re surrounded by family and friends. I was surrounded by great people doing great work.”
Lewis celebrated her first birthday on April 14 away from home and other major holidays like Fourth of July and Thanksgiving at Camp Arifjan.
“They made a big deal out of my Birthday,” she recalled. “They went all out for me. You got your family there.”
There was Camp Arifjan, a United States Army installation located in the State of Kuwait which accommodates elements of the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard. The camp was funded and built by the government of Kuwait. Military personnel from the United Kingdom, Australia, Romania and Poland are also forward deployed there.
Camp Arifjan is divided into seven zones. Thousands of soldiers pass through Camp Arifjan either on their way to Iraq or returning from Iraq. The service members deployed to Camp Arifjan are in a variety of different statuses. Many are active duty and come on a one year Permanent Change of Station, while some active duty come in a Temporary Change of Station status. There are many Guard and Reserve units that support a variety of functions in the SWA theater that come on varied length tours.
Lewis had several duties during her time in Kuwait including assist training with NCOs and taking on leadership roles as an E5. She said this mission was her first chance to exercise leadership and be in charge on certain assignments.
“Overall this was a great experience,” she said. I was a leader and had responsiblitites. I did a lot of growth and we did great things in the 212th.
Lewis’ and her peers’ work in Nuclear, Biological and Chemical will be evident in Kuwait for years to come. But Lewis was grateful to celebrate part of the holidays back in the United States. And earlier this month her family and friends welcomed her back to Tipton County with a party.
“It’s relief to be alive and be back home,” she said. “I am forever a solider but it’s time to get back to life, get back to my daily routine.
“Going over there makes you appreciate our way of life,” Lewis concluded. “Good and bad, I am very thankful to have the opporunity to serve and continue to serve my country. This is the biggest blessing I could have ever hoped for.”

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January 2014
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