This is the story of Captain Ayla Chase. She is a strong, female soldier making her presence felt in the military community. She has overcome obstacles meant to derail her success. But that hasn’t stopped her drive. She is part of Generation Y. A generation of young people changing the world. Digital natives paving the way for our future generations. They are soldiers in our Army, protecting our freedoms. Some of them face scrutiny from their peers or subordinates for being different, while others ostracize them because of their youth. I had the pleasure of interviewing this amazing woman, and I’m excited to share her journey of being Ayla, an American soldier.
At first sight, Ayla Chase looks like your average, young skateboarder. Tattoos down her arms, a beanie on her head and a carefree mentality. But after speaking with her for only a short time, I was intrigued. She is intelligent, compassionate and strong. She’s a military brat by nature. Born in Italy, Ayla was a fighter from the start. She was born prematurely and spent the first few months of her life in the NICU. She said, “The only reason I survived through the incubator period is because I had such a big heart.” It’s true, seeing her interact with other soldiers is an inspiration. She mentors and guides soldiers of all ranks to be their best, not only at work but outside of work, as well.
Ayla grew up in an Air Force family. Moving from place to place, she considered the service members her second family. She went to PT with her dad, learning all ways of military life, absorbing the culture and ultimately deciding this was something she wanted to do when she grew up. Originally, she had the desire to go into the Air Force, but ended up on a path to enter the U.S. Army. When asked if she wanted to retire in the Army, she responded, “I’ll do it until I don’t.”
She had several seasonal and part-time jobs prior to joining the Army. Her favorite job was working as a barista. Yes, she’s outgoing and approachable. I can totally envision her dancing as she’s brewing a customer’s “Cup of Joy,” as she calls it. She loved meeting the people who came into the coffee shop—so much so, she befriended an older customer who then invited her over to meet her family. I know what you’re thinking: of course, she didn’t go to a stranger’s home for dinner, right? Wrong! She went, ate dinner with the family and said it was an awesome experience!
Ayla is a 25A (Signal Officer) in the Army, responsible for mission essential communication on almost every level. She’s been in the service for four years. Ayla studied Information Systems Management at the Florida Institute of Technology, a high-stress position within the Army. She enjoys it, but wants to pursue a career in Civil Affairs. Although she went through the Civil Affairs selection process, she unfortunately wasn’t selected. However, she’ll be returning to try again very soon. She also went through training to become an Infantry Soldier in the second-ever female class! She said, “I’ll try anything outside.” After work, she loves helping soldiers train, and regularly leads soldiers on ruck marches. She even feeds them afterward, if they survive. To say Ayla is adventurous is an understatement! She does it all. She’s a volunteer firefighter and is mid-way through her EMT certification course. She competes in long distance races, enjoys white water rafting, rock climbing and anything else you can fathom.
When asked about her political affiliation and voting, she said; “I voted. I believe it’s very important for everyone to vote. What people don’t realize is [when you choose not to vote] you’re saying something even if you don’t say something.” She’s right! Even if you don’t speak up, it will still affect us all. Voting is an important duty for all Americans and should be encouraged no matter what views or values you hold.
Captain Chase is a shining example for young military members everywhere. She is strong, ambitious and enthusiastic. She faces all challenges with an open mind and is optimistic about the outcome of any endeavor she partakes in. With people like CPT Chase leading the way, our armed forces will remain strong, inculpable and impregnable. Her work has empowered and inspired a generation of doers within the military community.
“A woman with a voice is, by definition, a strong woman” – Melinda Gates.
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