Idaho National Guard Private Ashlynn Amoruso is only 17 years old, but she's already chasing her dream of becoming an Army medic like her father.
Young Amoruso signed up for basic combat training over what could have been a sedentary summer and has since celebrated completing the course at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
"My dad’s in the National Guard and has done a lot of things, and I thought that was really cool."
The teen started her senior year at Mountain View High School on Aug. 31, but that won't stop her from continuing her training with the Guard, with which she enlisted in December 2019. Amoruso plans to earn her EMT certificate during the school year as part of the Guard's Split Training Option.
She will attend Advanced Individual Training at Boise State University after graduation, and will train for her medic's license at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.
Amoruso's father, 1st Sgt. Dan Amoruso, is a 68W combat medic. His teen daughter, who aims to follow in her father's footsteps, admitted a longtime fascination with medicine, having immersed herself in books and television shows on the subject since childhood.
Basic training tested the scope of Amoruso's skills to the limit. During summer at Fort Jackson, she rappelled from a 40-foot wall, learned how to handle an M4 rifle, and was trained as a soldier in the essential skills of marching, obtaining peak physical fitness, and adopting core U.S. Army values.
The teen cited throwing a grenade as her favorite element of training. "It was super loud and you could feel it," she recalled, adding, "You could never pull the pin out with your teeth like they do in the movies."
Basic training was Amoruso's first time visiting the East Coast; the experience, she said, taught her a lot about dealing with other people. "I met people from all over the U.S. and interacting with them was different than interacting with people here in Idaho," she explained.
As a member of the Idaho National Guard, Amoruso's extensive future studies are eligible for financial aid from Federal Tuition Assistance and the State Assistance Tuition Program. Each program will contribute up to $4,000 a year toward her tuition fees.
The GI Bill, a program originally established to provide benefits for returning World War II veterans, plus Amoruso's monthly drill paycheck, will help cover her living expenses through college.
The ambitious 17-year-old, with basic training already under her belt, remains excited for the future. "Being in the National Guard is really cool," she said.