Command Chief for a Day: Staff Sgt. Tayla Ashe

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  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

(This interview is Part 3 of an open-ended series featuring members of Team Keesler selected for the Command Chief for a Day program.)

Chief Master Sgt. Vegas Clark, 81st Training Wing command chief, created a program called Command Chief for a Day at Keesler which highlights outstanding enlisted performers from around the 81st TRW.

Each Airman selected as the “Command Chief for a Day” spends the day shadowing Clark to learn what it takes to be a command chief.

This month’s Command Chief for a Day participant is Staff Sgt. Tayla Ashe from the 81st Diagnostic and Therapeutics Squadron.

How do you contribute to the 81st TRW mission?

As the NCO in charge of the Keesler Blood Donor Center, I lead a team consisting of military, government civilians and contractors. We collect, process and distribute lifesaving blood products to the Defense Department. The products we collect help support our local medical treatment facility and injured soldiers down range. Additionally, we train Phase II lab students.

What is one thing you hope to accomplish while at Keesler?

I have been at Keesler for about three years now and in that time I have already accomplished many of the goals I set for myself. I became comfortable working solo in my work center, I trained new coworkers and Phase II technical school students to be competent in our career field, I tested for and made staff sergeant on my first try and I was selected to be an NCO in charge. Now, I would say the one thing I want to accomplish here is to just learn more as a supervisor. I have been fortunate to have many Airmen in my upper management that are very knowledgeable and are always willing to help guide me when I have questions. I want to obtain as much insight from them as I can before I leave Keesler. 

What has been your biggest lesson learned in the Air Force?

The Air Force provided me the opportunity to learn how to “be an adult.” I was 17 years old when I joined, and 18 when I left basic training. I had never lived on my own or paid my own bills. The biggest lessons the Air Force has taught me were how to be independent and also how to ask for help when I need it. 

Who inspires you?

I find inspiration from many people. Retired Master Sgt. Darcy Ammon was a huge inspiration to me when she was in. As my section chief, she guided me through the first challenge I had as a young Airman and then later help me find my place as an NCO. I attribute a lot of my success in the Air Force to her. Additionally, Staff Sgt. Connor Curry, who I’ve been with for about three years, is also a huge inspiration for me. He pushes me when I doubt myself and has always supported my goals, on and off duty.

What is your number one goal?

My number one goal in life is to be able to provide a sustainable life for my future family. My number one goal in the Air Force is to provide a service to my country, and at the end of my time in the military, feel as though I have fulfilled that service to the best of my abilities.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

It has been a dream of mine, since high school, to be a first sergeant. I was in Junior ROTC in high school and one of my instructors was a retired diamond wearing first sergeant and he was a big influence to me when I was younger. In 10 years, I hope I’m either in that position, or on the path to be in that position.

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