Junior nursing major Ashley Hibbard is not the average woman. The U.S. military runs thick in her blood. She spent her summer field training as a cadet in the Air Force ROTC, sleeping in a tent and shooting M9 and M16 rifles.
“I couldn’t imagine not being around the military. I grew up around it,” Hibbard said. “The military has great benefits and is an opportunity to meet great people. It’s a different life than civilian life.”
Her mother and father were also in the military.
“I am a retired major from the Air Force,” Carol Hibbard said. “I was in the Air Force for 23 years. My husband was in the Army for two years when he was drafted in the Vietnam War. After returning, he got his degree in airport management.”
Her sister Nicole Musshorn is currently on active duty stationed in Las Vegas.
“I am a 2nd Lieutenant labor and delivery nurse for the Air Force,” Musshorn said. “My husband is a 1st Lieutenant in the Air Force.”
Carol Hibbard is thrilled with both of her daughters’ decisions to become nurses and officers.
“My girls and I have the same commitment and loyalty. I am so proud of my daughters.” Carol Hibbard said.
Ashley Hibbard was given a nursing scholarship from the Air Force after she was accepted into the nursing program at UMHB.
“I received a full ride,” she said. “I also received $800 in books and a stipend twice a month for about $325. The Air Force pays for everything because they want me to focus on school.”
However, the benefits come with a price; Hibbard must give her time and energy back to the military.
“ROTC stands for Reserved Officer Training School,” she said. “I am in the program at Baylor University. I’m basically in the Reserve for four years. This past summer … I went to field training for 28 days.”
This adventure was demanding for Hibbard.
“We learned marching, Air Force knowledge and commands,” she said. “They yell at you all the time and never praise you for anything. Then we went to CFJFTC, where we trained for mock deployment. We were in Mississippi. I don’t even know where I was exactly in Mississippi, they just told us to get on the plane.”
The cadets participated in 10 hours of combative training at camp.
“We had to qualify on a M9 and be familiar with an M16,” Hibbard said. “We trained in different roles each day between security forces, medical and personnel. We went through all the branches and being commanded in them.”
The officers in training were taken by surprise.
“We had one day of mock war and everyone had a job,” Hibbard said. “During that morning, intelligence told us there was going to be an attack. We were on our break and sitting in our tents, just waiting, when all of a sudden fake orange smoke bombs went off and fake shooting. It caused chaos because nobody was at their post.”
On the last day, Hibbard said the cadets prepared for graduation and an awards ceremony; she finished in the top 10 percent in her class.
“The commander of each flight critiques the cadets and gives each individual scores on how they did,” she said. “I was ranked second out of 21 people and received the Distinguished Graduate Award.”
Upon graduating from UMHB in Dec. 2010, the Air Force will require four years of service and two years of Reserve from her.
“I will commission as a second Lieutenant, which is the bottom rank
officer,” she said. “The day after I graduate from UMHB I’ll drive up to Waco and commission with my class. For me it will be a mock until I take the Nurses Literary Entrance Exam, and then I will get pinned on my ranks. I’ll probably have my mom pin me.”
Hibbard is excited to serve the USA, and glad that her field training is finished.
She said, “everyone calls it the most fun you never want to do again.”