Ashly Lynn Moyer
Sergeant, United States Army
RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 258-07 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2007
Media Contact: (703) 697-5131/697-5132
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of three soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.They died March 3, 2007, in Baghdad when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle.They were assigned to the 630th Military Police Company, Bamberg, Germany.
Sergeant Brandon A. Parr, 25, of West Valley,
For more information on these soldiers, contact
the 1st Armored Division public affairs office at 011-49-611-705-4859.
For the third time this week, a military service member from the area has died in Iraq. The latest victim is Sergeant Ashly Moyer of Lehigh County.
The 21-year-old was killed when an IED or roadside bomb exploded under the Humvee she was traveling in while in Central Baghdad.
Asley's sister said she will never forget the last few words that they shared while communicating on the computer.
"I love you, I miss you, be careful," said Karissa Thomas.
Ashly was a graduate of Emmaus High School and her family lived in Macungie, Lehigh County.
She first guarded detainees at Guantanamo Bay before heading to Baghdad.
"Ashly was never happy just being; as if being a student or finding a profession; she wanted to fight for something and the United States Army gave her that opportunity," said Karissa.
Her tour of duty was due to end in June and at that point, her boyfriend who is currently serving in Iraq, was planning on proposing to her.
"She was amazing, she inspired me to do things I never thought I could do," said Karissa.
Ashly will be buried at Arlington National
Cemetery but there are plans to have a local memorial in Macungie on Saturday.
The Lehigh Valley is mourning the death of another local soldier after a 21-year-old Emmaus woman was killed in Iraq on Saturday. She is the second soldier from the area to die this week.
Those who knew Ashly Lynn Moyer said she was unforgettable, her infection smile burning its way into everyone's memory.
But on Saturday, Moyer was killed when a roadside bombed expoded underneath the vehicle she was riding in in Central Baghdad, according to authorities.
Family said she was promoted to Sergeant two weeks ago, but the military did not have time to issue her stripes before her death.
Her sister, Karissa Thomas, said her sister was proud to serve her country, but wanted out of Iraq.
“She hated Iraq,” Thomas said. “She hated what happened there. That’s all I can say."
Bob Nesco was part of his church's adopt-a-troop program and had the chance to meet Moyer last Thanksgiving.
“I only knew her an hour, but it felt like I knew her a lifetime,” he said.
He mailed out a care package to her on Monday, unaware that she was already dead.
Moyer was set to return in June, when her family said her boyfriend -- who is still serving in Iraq -- was going to propose to her.
Funeral services were set for Friday at Arlington
Ashly Lynn Moyer, 21, of Emmaus died in Iraq when bomb detonated vehicle's fuel.
For a few moments Wednesday, Jane Drumheller turned away from her grief, speaking strongly and steadily as she remembered her daughter, Army Sergeant Ashly Lynn Moyer, an Emmaus High School graduate killed in a roadside bombing in Baghdad.
''She definitely was a hero,'' said Drumheller, of Milford, Pike County. The note of pride in her voice was unmistakable as she unfolded the all-too-familiar chronology of bad news from the war zone: the late-night visit from an Army officer, the crushing news, the sudden rush of memorial preparations and visits from friends.
It happened this way, according to the account the Army provided to Moyer's parents: Moyer, 21, assigned to the 630th Military Police Company, 793rd Military Police Battalion, was on routine patrol Saturday, steering the armored patrol vehicle she called ''my baby.''
She was driving the second vehicle in a convoy of four. As the lead vehicle drove over a buried bomb, insurgents detonated it by remote control. The occupants of the lead vehicle survived, but the explosion detonated the fuel tank on Moyer's vehicle, creating a fireball that killed her and the two Sergeants with her. They were Brandon A. Parr, 25, of West Valley, Utah, and Michael C. Peek, 23, of Chesapeake, Virginia, the Department of Defense said Wednesday.
Among the soldiers who responded to the bombing was Moyer's boyfriend, Jake Wells, a member of her unit who tried to rescue her but was turned back by the flames and rounds of ammunition exploding in the heat.
''That's what's most heart-wrenching to me,'' said Moyer's father, Michael Moyer of Lower Macungie, a former Marine choking up briefly as he pictured the scene. ''Can you imagine that? The girl you love is in there, and not being able to do anything.''
Moyer said it was comforting to learn that a helicopter destroyed the car carrying the insurgents suspected in the bombing. But his grief was compounded when he learned that Sergeant Peek was supposed to be married in two weeks.
Moyer will be buried March 16, 2007, at Arlington National Cemetery. She was the fourth person from the region to die in combat in Iraq this year and the 21st to die thus far in the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns. More than 3,100 soldiers have died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003.
Drumheller described her daughter as a tomboy with a girlish side, as fond of dolls as she was of softball. ''She would always rise to the occasion. She would mold in,'' Drumheller said. ''She was serious when she needed to get a job done, but when it was time to have fun, she was a chuckle.''
Inspired by her family's military pedigree – her Marine grandfather served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam – Moyer joined the Army Reserve through the delayed enlistment program while still attending Emmaus High. After graduating in 2003, she attended the Army Military Police School in Missouri, graduating in March 2004.
Her first assignment was Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, guarding enemy combatants held since the war in Afghanistan began. ''They were some of the real bad boys,'' her father said. ''Taliban.''
Moyer spent about a year at that task before returning home and getting an apartment in Emmaus. Restless and eager to see more of the world, she decided to return to active duty. She was stationed in Bamberg, Germany, about five months before shipping to Iraq.
In Baghdad, Moyer took an instant liking to her job as a driver. Her father would send her rearview mirror dice and other gag gifts to dress up the interior of the armored vehicle, a lumbering, plated truck with machine guns mounted on the rear. On the exterior, she mounted a toy Incredible Hulk head, which other soldiers would rub for luck before missions.
Last fall, while on a 10-day leave, Moyer visited her brother Kyle's school, Shohola Elementary, in Milford. Kathy Maida, the physical education teacher and student council adviser, said Moyer was nervous about the appearance before the fifth- and sixth-graders but carried it off as though she'd been doing it for years, speaking plainly and engagingly about Army life and her hopes for the future.
Afterward, Maida struck up an e-mail correspondence with Moyer. Maida said Moyer's messages reflected the fears and frustrations of Army life and indicated she was ready to come home for good.
Moyer's father, though, said his daughter believed strongly in the American cause and had recently extended her enlistment for a year. ''She really liked what she was doing,'' he said. ''The MPs over there are a very close family.''
For Ashly, that might have become literally true in the coming months.
''I just talked to her last week,'' her father
said. ''They were coming home in June and planning two weeks in Pennsylvania
and two weeks in Texas, where Jake is from. They were coming here because
he was going to ask me for her hand in marriage.''
Listening to Sergeant Ashly Lynn Moyer’s family recall memories of her growing up, one thing above all else comes through: Moyer may have been a woman small in stature but she was huge in heart.
"She didn’t want people to cry over her," Moyer’s cousin, Saman-tha Staude, 20, said, speaking of the barely 5-foot-tall Moyer. But for Staude and her mother Jean Garrison, Moyer’s aunt, both of Pottstown, holding back the tears as they talked with The Mercury on Wednesday was difficult.
Ashly Lynn Moyer was killed in Baghdad, Iraq, on March 3, 2007, when an improvised explosive device detonated near her vehicle. Moyer was serving with the 630th MP Company, 759th MP Battalion and 89th MP Brigade. She was 21 and her tour was scheduled to end in June at which time her boyfriend Jake Wells, whom she met in the service, was going to ask for her hand in marriage.
Moyer lived in Macungie with her father, Michael Moyer. But she spent time in Pottstown with her mother, Jane Geyer-Drumheller, her stepfather Jeffrey Drumheller, and her mother’s side of the family.
On Wednesday, looking through family photos of Moyer and photos of her in her uniform, Garrison and Staude reminisced.
"She always thought she was so cool in those sunglasses," Garrison said, pointing to one photo, a self-portrait Moyer took inside of her Army vehicle wearing her combat helmet and fatigues.
"That was her purpose for being there, I suppose," Garrison said, looking at another photo, one taken of Moyer and Staude in New York before 9/11, with the twin towers visible in the background.
The women spoke of Moyer’s sense of humor, how she loved to make people laugh no matter how ridiculous she looked. "She was so funny," Staude said.
They told of how Moyer loved gymnastics and dance when she was growing up, and how she loved to be center stage.
They described Moyer as someone who liked to give to others and wanted to make a difference, and who chose joining the military as a way to do so.
Staude spoke of Moyer like a big sister. Staude said Moyer taught her how to dive and boogie board at the beach during the family’s annual vacations, and how they often walked together to a Cumberland Farms store to buy candy -- including red lace licorice they nearly choked on.
She expressed the devastation she felt that her best friend would not be around to live out the plans they made as children.
"We used to -- when we were children -- build tents and run around with pillows under our shirts and pretend that we were having babies together," Staude said. Staude said the plan was to raise their families together, for their children to be as close as she and her cousin were, and eventually take care of their parents together.
"She was supposed to come home," Staude said in a wavering voice. "She wasn’t supposed to die there."
Both Staude and Garrison described Moyer as a self-sufficient, strong woman.
"Her big thing was ‘Who says girls can’t drive trucks?’" Staude said.
"She was a peanut," Garrison said. "Such a tiny girl who could do so much."
"She hated mopers," Staude said.
"This (sitting here crying about her) would so not fly right now," she said with a faint smile.
The most important piece in Moyer’s life, the two said, was her family, particularly her siblings. Moyer’s two little brothers, Kyle and Tyler, looked up to their big sister. Staude said.
"She was their hero," Garrison said.
Moyer enlisted in the military in 2003 and was stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after graduating from the Army Military Police School in March 2004, but she wasn’t anticipating being sent to Iraq, her relatives said.
She was proud to be a soldier, they said. Her grandfather, Bob Moyer, served in the Marines for 24 years, surviving Iwo Jima, and the Korean and Vietnam wars. Her grandmother, Irene Moyer was in the WAAC Marine Corps Women’s Reserve during World War II, and her father was also in the Marines.
Nonetheless, the women said, Moyer was anxious to come home from Iraq, get married and start a family.
In addition to her family here, Staude said it was important to recognize the military family Moyer had created while serving -- many members of whom were present when Moyer’s vehicle was destroyed by the I.E.D. that killed her, and many of whom were trying to make it back to the United States to be at her funeral.
The last time the two women saw Moyer was around Thanksgiving, and the last time they heard from her was Feb. 24, in an e-mail.
A viewing for Ashly Lynn Moyer will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. Saturday in Bachman, Kulik and Reinsmith Funeral Home, 225 Elm St., Emmaus, with a reception immediately following in the Lehigh Lodge, 2100 Route 100 South, Macungie.
A funeral with full military honors will be held at 3 p.m. March 16 in Arlington National Cemetery.
Memorial contributions in Moyer’s memory may
be made to the Ashly Lynn Moyer Memorial Fund to be used to erect a monument
locally in her honor, c/o any East Penn Bank location.
Family, friends remember Moyer
Army Sergeant Ashly Lynn Moyer's friends from Emmaus High School stood across the street Saturday from the Bachman, Kulik & Reinsmith Funeral Home for a tearful reunion of the Class of 2003.
Veterans, some in motorcycle jackets and leather chaps, ringed the Emmaus funeral home with 25 U.S. flags. They nodded solemnly at the 300 mourners who filed in for Moyer's memorial service.
Moyer, 21, died March 3, 2007, in a roadside bombing in Baghdad. The Army told her parents, Jane Drumheller of Pike County and Michael Moyer of Lower Macungie, that insurgents detonated a buried bomb right in front of her armored patrol vehicle, creating a fireball out of the fuel tank and killing her and two Sergeants riding with her.
She was cremated and will be interred Friday at Arlington National Cemetery.
''The good go young,'' said Terry Schwartz of Macungie, who met her at Eyer Middle School. ''That's all I can say that makes sense.''
The sweet teenager he knew – the one who went to Dorney Park with them and goofed off and had fun and dated one of his friends – was gone. Unbelievable.
Her teenage years were turbulent and troubled, friends and family said. But Moyer pulled her life together in 10th grade and began hitting the books, said Kevin Torpey of Wescosville.
''She started to really think about her future,'' Torpey said. ''She wanted to join the Army.''
After high school, she attended the Army Military Police School in Missouri, graduating in March 2004. After her first assignment in Cuba, she returned home to Emmaus for a year before returning to active duty. She was stationed in Bamberg, Germany, for about five months before shipping off to Iraq.
''She was so excited about it,'' Schwartz said. ''She was turning her life around.''
Sergeant Reginald McClary of Souderton served with Moyer in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from 2004 to 2005, guarding enemy combatants held since the war in Afghanistan began. He remembered her as a jolly person who made the other soldiers laugh, liked to bowl with her friends, and always stood up for what she believed.
McClary heard about the explosion from other people in her unit, the 630th Military Police Company, 793rd Military Police Battalion.
Moyer was the fourth person from the region to die in combat in Iraq this year and the 21st to die thus far in the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns. Nearly 3,200 soldiers have died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003.
''She was just a baby,'' said McClary, a strapping man in camouflage and combat boots. ''A baby.''
Inside, mourners queued in three rooms to pay their respects to the family, passing a display of photos, flowers, sports memorabilia and a condolence letter with a handwritten note from Governor Ed Rendell.
The first thing they saw was created by Moyer's youngest sister, Teagan Moyer, who colored posterboard with markers, adorned it with pictures of her and her big sister, and wrote across it: ''My sister rocks and is a hero!''
Moyer was extremely close to her two brothers and two sisters, making no distinction between step-, half- or full siblings, relatives said.
She called Tyler and Kyle Clark her ''slaves'' and liked to dunk her brothers underwater, a fact one of the boys called out during Army Chaplain David Farrell's eulogy.
Several relatives, including Teagan, shared their memories of Moyer. An aunt spoke about another family member's military service – her grandfather served as a Marine in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
''Ashly went into the Army to fight for our freedom,'' Teagan said.
One of the closest people in the world to Moyer was her stepsister Karissa Thomas. They met when they were both 4. Thomas was six months older, and she never let Moyer forget it.
As young girls, they dressed up their dogs as bride and groom and threw them a pretend wedding. Dozens of photos depict them wrestling, hugging and grinning at the camera as they grew from children to teenagers to young adults.
''My sister was strong and ambitious, had an amazing personality, and was bright in so many ways,'' Thomas said.
Moyer was both a tomboy and a princess, a pretty young woman with brown hair and blue eyes who loved softball, acrobatics and jazz.
The strength she possessed put most grown men to shame, Thomas said, tears rolling down her cheeks.
''I know she's standing behind me right now,
telling me to stop crying like a girl,'' she said.
To her father, Army Sergeant Ashly Lynn Moyer was a hero the moment she enlisted in the military.
Moyer, 21, was killed March 3, 2007 when an improvised explosive device detonated under her convoy in Bagdad.
Two other sergeants died in the explosion.
"People say she's a hero now, but to me she was when she decided to go in," Michael Moyer said.
Moyer, of Emmaus, Pennsylvania, was a member of the 630th Military Police Company based in Bamberg, Germany.
"My daughter was very honest and straight up," said Michael Moyer of Lower Macungie, Pennsylvania. "I think that's what took her to the military police."
Moyer grew up hearing about the military from her father and grandfather, both Marines. Her grandfather fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima and served in the Korean and Vietnam wars.
After graduating from Emmaus High School outside Allentown, Pennsylvania, she attended the Army Military Police School in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, graduating in 2004. She then served in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for close to 11 months. In 2006, she began serving as a police convoy driver in Baghdad.
"She said Baghdad was hell, but enjoyed the people who were there," Michael Moyer said. "She wanted to do it. She believed in the military being over there."
In November, while on leave, Ashly discussed her job with students at Shohola Elementary School, where her brother, Kyle Clark, is a fifth-grader.
"She gave really descriptive answers to the children about her job," said Shohola Elementary Principal Peg Schaffer.
"Life is so fragile," Schaffer added. "Our whole school is really thankful she shared some time with us."
Kathy Maida, a physical education teacher and student council adviser, often communicated with Moyer through e-mails after her visit.
"She was kind of a tomboy. She was tough," said Maida, who said Ashly often spoke of the dangers of war. "She couldn't wait until it was over,"
Moyer had only six months of service left. She wanted to go to school when she got home, Maida said.
Besides her father and brother, Kyle, Moyer is survived by her mother, Jane Drumheller of Dingman Township, Pennsylvnaia, and another brother, Tyler Clark, a seventh-grader at Dingman Delaware Middle School.
Moyer will be buried at Arlington National
Cemetery in Virginia at 3 p.m. Friday. There are no local services scheduled.
When Army Sergeant Ashly Lynn Moyer was a little girl, she and her cousin Samantha Staude used to stuff their shirts with pillows and pretend they were having babies.
Lately, that dream seemed closer to coming true. Moyer, a soldier deployed in Iraq with the 630th Military Police Company, was expected to return to the United States this summer. So was another member of her unit, Specialist Jake Wells, who planned to propose to her.
Instead, family and friends gathered yesterday in a driving sleet to bury Moyer in Arlington National Cemetery. She was one of more than 3,100 U.S. troops to die in the Iraq war.
Moyer, 21, of Emmaus, Pennsylvania, was killed March 3, 2007. with two others while driving a Humvee in a convoy on patrol in Baghdad, said her mother, Jane Drumheller of Milford, Pennsylvania. An improvised explosive device detonated the armored vehicle's gas tank, engulfing Moyer and two other sergeants in flames, Drumheller said. Ammunition fed the fire.
Wells was walking a few feet behind the car, and he tried to save her, Drumheller said. "With the heat, he couldn't get to her," she said. But when the flames subsided, she said, "he got to her first. He said he talked to her and said his goodbyes."
A U.S. helicopter pursued four men in a car believed to have detonated the bomb and "took care of them," Drumheller said she was told. "It is sort of gratifying, yes," she said. "But it doesn't help in the end. It's just sad all around."
At Arlington, mourners spilled out of three large buses and more than 30 cars to say goodbye. Flags were given to Moyer's father, Michael R. Moyer, and her mother. After soldiers fired volleys in salute and played taps, Drumheller covered her eyes with her hand. Then she kissed her fingers, pressed them against the box containing her daughter's ashes and laid down a red rose.
Moyer had met Wells in Germany, and the two had planned to move to Texas, his home state, family members said.
"He's just beyond devastated," Staude said of Wells. "He called her his angel, and now she really is."
Drumheller said that her daughter lacked direction as a teenager but that joining the Army after high school helped focus her. She spent a year at the Guantanamo Bay military base before being sent to Germany and then Iraq. She did not like Iraq, her mother said. "She didn't quite understand what she was doing there, but she was doing it because it was her job."
On a home leave in November, Moyer spoke to her 10-year-old brother Kyle's class. She also had another brother, Tyler, 12; a sister, Teagan, 8; and a stepsister, Karissa, 21.
"They get all teary-eyed," Drumheller said of Kyle and Tyler. She said they looked up to Moyer. "Ashly was there when they were born," she said, "and it's like, 'Big Sissy.' "
Moyer's desire to help people inspired Staude, of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, to go to nursing school. The cousins also shared a plan.
"We were supposed to make babies together," Staude said. "Ever since we were kids, we were supposed to grow old together and take care of our parents together. That's how it was supposed to be. She wasn't supposed to die there."
An Army honor guard carries the remains of Army Sergeant Ashly L. Moyer during funeral services
at Arlington National Cemetery Friday, March 16, 2007.
MOYER, ASHLY L
Posted: 7 March 2007 Updated: 8 March 2007 Updated: 11 March 2007 Updated: 16 March 2007 Updated: 20 March 2007 Updated: 19 April 2007 Updated: 2 July 2007 Updated: 30 April 2010
2010 Rose Event Photo By M. R. Patterson
Photo Courtesy of Holly: April 2007
Photo Courtesy of Holly, March 2007